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A history of the Antonine Wall and a guide to the surviving remains of Rome’s Northernmost Frontier

Cadder to Bearsden

Wilderness Plantation Fortlet


Around 500 metres after Balmuildy Road turns to parallel the route of the Wall, you will get to the site of Wilderness Plantation Fortlet. There are no visible signs above ground but its location was in the field directly adjacent to the junction with the Eco centre. It was a standard sized Roman Fortlet that acted as a fortified gateway through the Antonine Wall. Enclosing 0.25 acres it presumably had timber barracks for a small garrison.


Interestingly a number of small enclosures have been found attached to the Wall to the east and west of the fortlet. The purpose of these is unknown, and no remains are visible above ground, but one supposition is they acted as secure enclosures for military stores.

Travel and Parking

Continue to 'Bearsden'

Key:

Known Fort Location (No Visible Remains)

Fort (Visible Remains)

Other visible remains

Balmuildy Road


The Wall broadly follows the line of Balmuildy Road until its junction with the A879 Balmore Road (about 1.5 miles further west). The landscape is largely undeveloped allowing a good appreciation of the line of the frontier but there are no footpaths, inadequate verges and a national speed limit; it really can’t be safely walked. The pedestrian safe route is to return to the Canal Towpath and continue until you get to Lambhill where you intersect with Balmore Road and can walk north until you get to the Balmore Road / Balmuildy Road junction (and the site of Balmuildy Fort) noting you will miss the site of Wilderness Plantation Fortlet.

This section of the Wall is largely aligned with busy, national speed limit roads. Parking is available at Cadder, Bishopsbriggs and (for customers) at Dobbin’s Garden Centre.

Getting There

Cadder Roman Fort


The fort at Cadder, one of the secondary outposts added later in the Wall’s development, enclosed an area of 2.8 acres. As was common the north rampart was the Antonine Wall itself whilst the others were similarly constructed of turf but were marginally thicker (4.7 metres vice 4.5 for the main Wall). The west side was defended by two ditches with the standard singular ditch to the east. The fort also had an annexe although this was unusually connected to the south of the fort rather than adjacent/attached to the Antonine Wall. Although inscriptions confirm that Cadder was built by the Second Augustan Legion (Legio II Augusta), the garrison is unknown. It has been suggested the fort's size was sufficient for a 500 man Auxiliary Regiment (known as a cohors quingenaria peditata). The fort survived as earthworks until gravel quarrying and the construction of the Forth to Clyde canal took their toll.

This article details the line of the Antonine Wall from the site of the Roman Fort at Cadder to Bearsden. There are few visible traces of the frontier during this section and those that are tend to be difficult to access for the modern visitor due to a lack of pathways. Nevertheless two very fine stretches of rampart stone base can be found in New Kilpatrick Cemetery towards the end of this section.

Towards Balmuildy


The Wall continued beyond Wilderness paralleling Balmuildy Road. Two sharp turns adjust the course of the modern road 100 metres to the north and at this point it is running on the line of the Wall.

Site of Cadder Roman Fort

Forts and Fortlets

Cadder Roman Fort:

(Site of)

Lat/Long:  55.925860N 4.215335W

Grid Ref:   NS 6167772527

Postcode: G64 3QA

Wildnerness Plantation Fortlet:

(Site of - no visible remains)

Lat/Long:  55.921452N 4.244772W

Grid Ref:   NS 5982272096

Postcode: G64 3QG

Balmuildy Roman Fort:

(Site of - no visible remains)

Lat/Long:  55.916280N 4.271130W

Grid Ref:   NS 5815771574

Postcode: G23 5HE

Distance Slabs

Cawdor

(Original in Hunterian Museum)

IMP CAES TITO AELIO HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG PIO P P LEG II AVG PER M P IIIDCLXVIS


"For the Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Father of his Country, the Second Augustan Legion built [this] over a distance of 3666.5 paces."


Found near Cawdor, Bishopbriggs

River Kelvin


At Balmuildy Fort the line of the Wall abruptly changes course on to a north west heading. Crossing the River Kelvin, it continues on this path for 0.5 miles paralleling Balmore Road. Keep following the road until you see Dobbin’s Garden Centre in the fields ahead.

Balmuildy

(Original in Hunterian Museum)

IMP CAES TITO AELIO HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG PIO P P LEG II AVG PEP M P IIIDC LXVIS


"For the Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Father of his Country, the Second Augustan Legion built [this] over a distance of 3666.5 paces."


Found near Balmuildy Roman Fort, Cadder

The Wall Continues


The line of the Wall from Cadder runs through the adjacent Golf Course and cannot be followed directly although a good view of its path can be obtained by climbing the bank next to the towpath. If on foot keep following the Canal’s towpath until you get to the bridge at Bishopsbriggs (about 1 mile) and this will bring you out onto Balmuildy Road. Turn right and climb the hill. To your left you can see the Golf course - the line of the Wall ran straight through that towards you. At the top of the hill Balmuildy Road takes a sharp turn left intersecting with, and now running parallel to, the line of the Wall.

Site of Cadder Roman Fort

Line of the Wall into the Golf course...

...and out to Bishopsbriggs

Balmuildy Road aligns with Wall

Wall ran parallel to the right

Site of Wilderness Plantation Fortlet

From Wilderness Plantation Fortlet

Towards Balmuildy

Balmuildy Roman Fort


The junction between Balmuildy Road and Balmore Road was the site of Balmuildy Roman Fort. Enclosing 4 acres, this was one of the largest facilities on the frontier (only Mumrills and Old Kilpatrick were larger whilst Carriden was the same size) and was one of only two forts on the Wall built of stone (the other was Castlecary). Like its eastern neighbour at Cadder, inscriptions record the fort was constructed by the Second Augustan Legion (Legio II Augusta) but again the initial garrison is unknown although the presumption is a 500 man Auxiliary Infantry Regiment (known as a cohors quingenaria peditata). Balmuildy was a primary fort; one of the garrisons forming part of the original plan/configuration for the frontier before many others were added. Furthermore it might have been the first fort on the line as it was constructed with protruding stone walls intended to connect with the frontier’s rampart when they reached here; clearly the builders expected that to be built in stone rather than turf suggesting a very early build date for the fort relative to the rest of the frontier. Also of note is archaeological discoveries of inscriptions referring to Quintus Lollius Urbicus, Governor of Britain between AD 138/9 and AD 142 firmly dating the fort. Archaeological investigation also revealed evidence of severe damage to the structure in the mid-second century; possibly indicating an attack but could also be associated with Roman withdrawal or rebuilding.

Site of Balmuildy Fort (from north)

Site of Balmuildy Fort (from west)

Wall followed line of road - site of Balmuildy Fort in foreground

Line of Wall north

Wall crossed River Kelvin

Line of Wall (looking south)

Take note of Millichen Road!

Summerston Roman Fortlet


After tracking north for around 0.5 miles from Balmuildy Fort, the line of the Wall again abruptly changes course. Having reached a point of high ground it now angled west-north-west directly for the next summit at Crow Hill. Today this line does not correspond in the modern road layout instead crossing Balmore Road and running across the field to the rear/south of Dobbin’s Garden Centre. This was the site of Summerston Fortlet - another 0.25 acre sized fortified gateway through the Antonine Wall. Again no remains are visible.

Wall changed course here…

...and crossed field for high ground

Summerston Fortlet was situated behind Dobbin’s Garden Centre

Millichen Road


After reaching the summit of Crow Hill, the Wall changes direction once more now heading south-west and intersects with the western section of Millichen Road. There is no footpath after Dobbin’s Garden Centre and therefore your best option is to reverse your walk back towards the Balmore Road/Millichen Road junction and follow that.

Millichen Road (line of Wall)

Segment of ditch

Towards Bearsden


Millichen Road exits onto Boclair Road. The Wall continued across the road and into the opposite field before changing to a westerly course paralleling the modern road. You now need to head into Bearsden so turn left on Boclair Road. Take extreme care as there are no footpaths for the first 300 metres.


LAT/LONG

OS GRID REF

POSTCODE

Cadder Fort (Site of)

55.925860N 4.215335W

NS 6167772527

N/A

Cadder Car Parking

55.924171N 4.215813W

NS 6164172340

G64 3QA

Wilderness Plantation

55.921452N 4.244772W

NS 5982272096

G64 3QG

Balmuildy Fort

(Site of)

55.916280N 4.271130W

NS 5815771574

G23 5HE

Summerston Fortlet (

Site of)

55.925388N 4.284578W

NS 5735072615

N/A

Summerston Roman Fortlet:

(Site of - no visible remains)

Lat/Long:  55.925388N 4.284578W

Grid Ref:   NS 5735072615

Postcode: N/A

Visit the Antonine Wall

Carriden to MumrillsMumrills to RoughRough to CastlecaryCastlecary to WesterwoodWesterwood to Bar HillBar Hill to KirkintillochKirkintilloch to CadderCadder to BearsdenBearsden to CastlehillCastlehill to Old KilpatrickBeyond the Wall

Visit the Antonine Wall