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

Castlehill to Old Kilpatrick

Beyond Castlehill


From the summit of the hill, traces of ditch can be seen heading away from Castlehill.

Travel and Parking

Continue to 'Beyond the Wall'

Key:

Known Fort Location (No Visible Remains)

Fort (Visible Remains)

Other visible remains

This section of the Wall runs through a mixture of urban and rural roads and culminates in the Clyde Coastal Path. Parking is available at Bearsden and Old Kilpatrick.

Getting There

Castlehill Roman Fort


Castlehill Roman Fort was one of the secondary forts of the Wall added after the decision had been made to move more garrisons onto the frontier itself. The rampart had already been built by this stage and altered its course at the summit changing from a western heading to south-west. The fort was constructed at this point.


Enclosing around 3.5 acres Castlehill was comparable in size to the primary forts; a key difference from most of the other secondary forts which were generally smaller. Perhaps this was indicative of an enhanced threat in this area or alternatively the area might have been sparsely inhabited requiring additional troops to ensure security of the frontier. Either way a 500 strong mixed infantry and cavalry Regiment was recorded there - the Fourth Cohort of Gauls (cohors IV Gallorum quingenaria equitata). They had previously been assigned to Castlesteads on Hadrian's Wall and, after the abandonment of the Antonine Wall, would man the outpost at Risingham. Later in the third century AD the Regiment was recorded at Vindolanda.

This article details the line of the Antonine Wall from the site of the Roman Fort at Castlehill through to the western terminus of the Wall at Old Kilpatrick. This section is a mix of rural road, urban roads and the Clyde Coastal Footpath. Unfortunately visible traces of the frontier now become few and far between although a small section of stone base is visible at Duntocher.

Towards Cleddans


The line of the Wall cuts across several fields before intersecting with Cleddans Road. You can weave your way through to this by returning to Duntocher Road and heading west. Take the first left onto Peel Glen Road - the line of the Wall crossed this road. Now take the second right onto Ladyloan Avenue and follow this until you get to the junction with Monymusk Place. Follow that road, which becomes a footpath, until it intersects with a farm track. You are now back on the line of the Wall. Head west and the track morphs into Cleddans Road. Keep heading west and you will get to the site of Cleddans Fortlet.

Site of Castlehill Roman Fort

Forts and Fortlets

Castlehill Roman Fort:

(Site of)

Lat/Long:  55.924647N 4.363258W

Grid Ref:   NS 5243272698

Postcode: N/A

Cleddans Roman Fortlet:

(Site of - no visible remains)

Lat/Long:  55.920340N 4.392380W

Grid Ref:   NS 5059672281

Postcode: N/A

Distance Slabs

Hutcheson Hill

(Original in Hunterian Museum)

IMP C T AEL HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG PIO P P VEX LEG XX VV FEC PP III


"For the Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Father of his Country, a detachment of the Twentieth Valiant and Victorious Legion completed [the work] over a distance of 3000 feet."


Found at Hutcheson Hill, West Dunbartonshire near Cleddans.

Cleddans Roman Fortlet


Sometime after the construction of the Wall at Castlehill, but before it arrived here at Cleddans, the measurements recorded on the Distance Slabs changed from Roman Paces (1.4795 metres) to Feet (0.2959 metres). This has been interpreted as concurrent with the decision to move more garrisons onto the line of the Wall and accordingly work on the ditch and rampart was suspended whilst the Legions returned east to build at least eleven secondary forts. There is also some debate as to when the final 4 miles of the Wall was completed; some historians believe the Legions returned immediately after the secondary forts were constructed, others that the final stretch was not completed until the early AD 150s due to large detachments of troops being deployed abroad. Regardless, Cleddans itself was completed before the re-allocation of manpower and probably served as an independent fortlet until it was later physically connected to the frontier.

Line of Wall at Golden Hill Park

Looking towards Duntocher Fort site

Duntocher Fort - no visible remains fort site marked by long grass

Duntocher Stone Base


Immediately down the hill from the site of Duntocher fort is a small section of the rampart’s stone base.

Traces of ditch at Castlehill Fort

Line of Wall

Stone base

Wall Continues


From Golden Hill Park the line of the Wall crosses Dumbarton Road and broadly aligns with Beeches Road.

The view north

The view south

Site of Castlehill Fort

Traces of ditch at Castlehill Fort

Line of Wall heading west towards Cleddans

Cleddans Fortlet was situated on the high ground

Towards Hardgate


Keep following Cleddans Road west - you remain in alignment with the path of the Wall. After you have passed the golf course the area becomes residential and at the junction between Cleddans Road and Cleddans Crescent the Wall buries itself under modern housing. There is no direct line that can be followed so keep heading along Cleddans Road until it connects with the A8014 then turn right. Head north and take the second right onto Stewart Drive which affords access to Golden Hill Park - the location of Duntocher Fort on the Wall.

Duntocher Roman Fort and Fortlet


Duntocher was originally a fortlet built, like its neighbour at Cleddans, as a standalone entity before the Wall itself. However, when building work resumed on the final segment of Wall between Castlehill and Old Kilpatrick, the site was upgraded into a substantive fort. The new structure, built directly adjacent to the existing fortlet, was the smallest secondary fort on the frontier by a significant margin - it enclosed just 0.5 acres (the next smallest was Rough Castle at 1 acre). Even with its annexe, which consumed the former fortlet and shared its defensive ditches with the main fort, the site was too small to house a complete Regiment. At best the site was an enhanced fortlet. Today there are no visible remains but the line of the fort, its annexe and the fortlet are marked by long grass.

Line of Wall

Beeches Road heading west

Looking back to Duntocher fort

Line of Wall heading west

Clyde Coastal Path


At the end of Beeches Road a footpath provides access to the Clyde Coastal Path. This takes you to the north of the Clydebank Crematorium broadly matching the line of the Wall.

Line of Wall

North of Clydebank Crematorium

Wall Continues


After the Crematorium, the Clyde Coast Path deviates to the south but the path still allows a a good view of the line of the Wall. It is increasingly clear at this stage that the Wall is now being overlooked by higher ground as the builders started edging towards the banks of the Clyde. This is in marked contrast with the rest of the frontier which darts from one summit to another making good use of the local terrain. Perhaps pressure to complete the frontier led to the most direct line being followed or perhaps the threat was deemed low in this area.

Line of Wall heading west

The view north - note how the Wall is now clearly overlooked by higher ground

Line of Wall heading west

Erskine Bridge


The Clyde Coast Path will bring you to a road (near a sub-station). The line of the Wall runs straight ahead through the grounds of private properties running broadly parallel with with the A82. Turn left and pass under the bridge under the A82 and take the first right onto Mount Pleasant Drive. As you climb the hill you will see a car park on your left with a footpath to the Erskine Bridge. This is well worth taking as the bridge will give you superb views of the Clyde and a birds eye view of the site of Old Kilpatrick Fort and the Wall’s western terminus.


Caution: This bridge is not for those who don’t like heights! It is a suspension bridge and rocks gently as cars thunder past on the busy road that runs over it.

Location of Old Kilpatrick Fort and the Wall’s western terminus

Wall Continues


Retrace your steps back onto Mount Pleasant Drive. Follow this to a cross roads turning right and accessing a footpath that takes you onto the A82 Great Western Road. The line of the Wall continues to run to the north side of this busy road. After 200 metres you reach the point where the Wall adjusted its course to west-south-west crossing the A82. Roughly where the railway line is today, the Wall changed direction again heading directly for the Clyde. Follow the A82 Great Western Road and take the first left onto Dumbarton Road. Walk back towards Old Kilpatrick. Stop at the junction with Kirk Crescent.

Line of Wall heading towards Clyde

Line of Wall and Old Kilpatrick Fort

A82 - Wall ran on ground to north

Old Kilpatrick Roman Fort


Old Kilpatrick was one of the primary forts of the Antonine Wall. Initially built as a free standing fortification, it pre-dated construction of the western section of the frontier. One of the largest forts on the Wall (only the cavalry base at Mumrills was bigger), it enclosed 4.2 acres. It was garrisoned by the First Cohort of Baetasians (cohors I Baetasiorum quingenaria peditata civium Romanorum ob virtutem et fidem) - a Regiment raised in Germany and, according to their title, had earned Roman citizenship for valour and loyalty. The fort seems to have had an extended life beyond the abandonment of the frontier - normally estimated to be circa-AD 158 to AD 163 - as a coin from the reign of Empress Lucilla was found in the granary dating no earlier than AD 164.

Site of Old Kilpatrick Fort

Forth-Clyde Canal crosses Wall

The Western Terminal


From Dumbarton Road head down Gavinburn Place to Portpatrick Road which runs parallel with the Forth to Clyde canal. Cross the footbridge over the canal and access the footpath that runs parallel to the Clyde. The terminus of the Wall occurred at this point roughly where the Port Navigation Marker is. For those who have walked Hadrian’s Wall, the little wooden shack that marks the end of the national trail at Bowness-on-Solway is spectacularly unimpressive. Here, at the end of this great work known to subsequent generations as Grim’s Dyke, there is not even a single mention!  However, if you head west for around 150 metres you will come to an opening in the trees giving a better view of the Clyde.

The Erskine Bridge viewed from the western terminus of the Antonine Wall

River Clyde


In Roman times the River Clyde was much shallower than today, modern dredging having cut a deep water channel through to Glasgow. It was also probably wider with extended mudflats on either side and numerous fording points. At least one of these, Dumbuck (around 1 mile west from Old Kilpatrick), lay beyond the Wall. It seems surprising then that the Antonine Wall ended here and it is perhaps further evidence that the threat in this region was limited. Nevertheless whilst the Wall ended here, the frontier itself continued on the southern shores of the Clyde.


LAT/LONG

OS GRID REF

POSTCODE

Castlehill Fort

55.924647N 4.363258W

NS 5243272698

N/A

Cleddans Fortlet (Site of)

55.920340N 4.392380W

NS 5059672281

N/A

Duntocher Fort (Site of)

55.923531N 4.409626W

NS 4953172674

Goldenhill Park, G81 6HA

Old Kilpatrick Fort (Site of)

55.926903N 4.466955W

NS 4596373175

G60 5ND

Duntocher Roman Fort and Fortlet:

(Site of - marked by long grass)

Lat/Long:  55.923531N 4.409626W

Grid Ref:   NS 4953172674

Postcode: Goldenhill Park, G81 6HA

Old Kilpatrick Roman Fort:

(Site of - no visible remains)

Lat/Long:  55.926903N 4.466955W

Grid Ref:   NS 4596373175

Postcode: G60 5ND

Hutcheson Hill

(Original in Hunterian Museum)

IMP C T AE HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG  PIO PP V LEG XXVV FEC PP III


"For the Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Father of his Country, a detachment of the Twentieth Valiant and Victorious Legion built [this] over a distance of 3000 feet."


Found at Hutcheson Hill, West Dunbartonshire near Cleddans.

Duntocher

(Original in Hunterian Museum)

IMP C T AELIO HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG P P VEX LEG VI VICTRICS P F OPVS VALLI P MMM CCXL F


"For Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Father of his Country, a detachment of the Sixth Victorious, Loyal and Faithful Legion built the work of the Wall over a distance of 3240 feet."


Found near Duntocher, West Dunbartonshire

Duntocher

(Original in Hunterian Museum)

LEG II AVG F P IIII CXL


"The Second Augustan Legion built 4140 feet"


Found near Duntocher, West Dunbartonshire

Duntocher

(Original in Hunterian Museum)

IMP ANTON AVG PIO P P LEG II AVG F P IIICCLXXI


"For the Emperor Antoninus Augustus Pius, Father of his Country, the Second Augustan Legion completed 3271 feet."


Found near Duntocher, West Dunbartonshire

Old Kilpatrick

(Original in Hunterian Museum)

IMP C T AELIO HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG P P VEX LEG VI P F OPVS VALLI P MMMMC XLI


"For the Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus, Father of his Country, a detachment of the Sixth Victorious, Loyal and Faithful Legion built the work of the Wall over a distance of 3240 feet."


Found near Old Kilpatrick, West Dunbartonshire

Old Kilpatrick

(Original in Hunterian Museum)

[I]MP C T AE ADRIANO NTONICO G PIO P P EG XX VV DXI


"For the Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Father of his Country, a detachment of the Twentieth Valiant and Victorious Legion built [this] over a distance of 4411 feet."


Old Kilpatrick, West Dunbartonshire

Old Kilpatrick

(Original in Hunterian Museum)

IMP C T AE HADRIANO ANTONINO AVG PIO P P VEX LEG XX VV FEC PP IIII CDXI


"For the Emperor Caesar Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antoninus Augustus Pius, Father of his Country, a detachment of the Twentieth Valiant and Victorious Legion built [this] over a distance of 4411 feet."


Old Kilpatrick, West Dunbartonshire

Visit the Antonine Wall

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