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

Mumrills to Rough Castle

The Wall Continues


The line of the Wall now follows Grahamsdyke Street for its entire length although there are no visible signs. The road seems to end at the crossroads with Abbotsford Drive but continues towards a subway that passes under the B805/Mary Street roundabout.

Towards Callendar


Pass under the subway, onto Callendar Road and go under the railway bridge - you remain on the line of the Wall. Shortly after the railway bridge, the Wall made a slight adjustment to its line - at the site of the modern roundabout it briefly diverted West-South-West before almost immediately resuming its general Westerly heading. The net effect is the line of the Wall now runs on the grass bank to the immediate South of the main road (Callendar Road). Keep walking West parallel to the main road.

Fighting Ditch at Callendar Park


Keep heading towards the blocks of flats seen in the distance of the photo above. The ditch will get deeper and more impressive as you go along. You’ll pass Callendar House to your left. Parts of this property date from the fourteenth century when it was the property of the Livingstone family. It has been heavily modified and expanded since plus was briefly fortified during the 1715 Jacobite rebellion. The segment of Antonine Wall that runs through its grounds was known to the owners as Graemes Dyke. This name, along with the earlier Grahamsdyke Street, originate from George Buchanan, tutor to the young James VI in the late sixteenth century. He told the story that Graeme was the leader of the Picts who attacked the Wall from the south enabling his countrymen to invade the Roman province and drive them out. More likely however is the title was merely another variation on ‘Grim’s Dyke’ – which seems to have come from a corruption of the English word Grimes (meaning Devil's).

The ditch

Callendar Park


Keep following the remains of the ditch which will get deeper and more impressive as you go along. As you progress you’ll see a ridge/earthwork to the south of the of the ditch - this is not the rampart but the remains of an eighteenth century estate road.

Travel and Parking

Continue to 'Rough Castle'

Key:

Known Fort Location (No Visible Remains)

Fort (Visible Remains)

Other visible remains

Callendar Park


If you walk along the grass bank you’ll eventually find your way blocked by a fenced enclosure forcing you down onto the footpath of Callendar Road. The enclosed area is small and you can quickly return to your path but you will now notice a steeper bank. Climb it and you’ll be rewarded with the first surviving elements of the Wall - a segment of ditch.

This section is dominated by Falkirk and is predominantly urban. Nevertheless there is much to see here including well preserved sections of ditch at Callendar Park, Anson Avenue and Watling Lodge. Onroad parking is available in most locations and Callendar Park has its own dedicated car park.

Getting There

Forts and Fortlets

Mumrills Roman Fort

(Site of - no visible remains)

Lat/Long:  55.996353N 3.736128W

Grid Ref:   NS 9181379516

Postcode: FK2 9NH

Falkirk Roman Fort:

(Found off Booth Place:)

Lat/Long:  55.998250N 3.785635W

Grid Ref:   NS 8873179806

Postcode: FK1 1BB

Watling Lodge Fortlet:

(Found off Tamfourhill Road)

Lat/Long:  55.997835N 3.824479W

Grid Ref:   NS 8630779823

Postcode: FK1 4RA

Camelon Roman Fort:

(Found in grounds of Falkirk Golf Club)

Lat/Long:  56.008012N 3.824431W

Grid Ref:   NS 8634080955

Postcode: FK2 7YH

Mumrills Roman Fort


There are no visible remains of Mumrills Fort but it was the largest on the Antonine Wall enclosing an area of around 6.5 acres. The site had previously been occupied concurrent with the campaigns of General Agricola in the AD 80s during the first Roman Conquest of Scotland. When reoccupied it was initially garrisoned by an Auxiliary cavalry Regiment - the First Tungrian Cavalry Wing (ala I Tungrorum quingenaria). This seemingly made it unique as it is the only known fort on the Wall to have a mounted contingent (although Bearsden is also a possibility) presumably because the terrain across the line of the frontier did not favour cavalry. It is possible Mumrills was chosen for this function due to its proximity to Dere Street, the main Roman Road running along the eastern spine of Britannia allowing rapid augmentation to the forts beyond the Wall.


Mumrills Fort was built before the rampart as the Wall had to make an adjustment to its course to align with the structure. On this basis historians have confidently classified this as a primary fort; one of the planned outposts on the Wall in the original scheme before the revision that saw many others built on the line. In AD 158 a new garrison - the Second Cohort of Thracians (cohors II Thracum) - seemingly occupied the site.

No Through Road!


A private road runs to the South of the Howgate centre - this was the line of the Wall. You now need to get onto the B803 so either head through the shopping centre or head South via Pleasance Gardens and then west to the roundabout. Look for the turning left onto Arnothill Lane and you are once again on the line of the Wall.

Arnothill Road


The Wall follows the entire length of Arnothill Lane until it emerges on Maggie Wood’s Loan. Thereafter it becomes buried under modern housing. Turn right as you exit Arnothill Lane and follow the road around - it will become Queen’s Street and then Anson Avenue. Keep following this road which eventually sharply bends to the north. In the space between the houses to the north and south is a very fine stretch of ditch. The impressive view makes it clear why the Romans chose this route.

Strachan Street


From the Anson Avenue segment you can see the direction of travel of the Wall heading West. Follow the ditch remnants down to the B8080 and go straight across. The Wall is now briefly buried under modern housing but the open grassed area allows you to follow. You’ll end up on Strachan Street and this was the line of the Wall.

Watling Lodge Fortlet


There are no surviving remains of Watling Lodge Fortlet but it was in the vicinity of the modern building. Like Kinneil it enclosing an area of around 0.25 acres and was effectively a fortified gateway through the Wall; probably one of many that existed at roughly mile long intervals across the length of the frontier. Unlike the other gateways though, Watling Lodge Fortlet must have seen significantly more traffic for it was more than just an access point. Dere Street, the main road north, ran through it connecting the Roman south with the outpost fortifications that ran as far north as the River Tay. A little under one mile to the north was a major outpost at Camelon and thereafter the road continued towards the outpost at Ardoch.


Head back onto Tamfourhill Road and pass Watling Lodge. Explore the small segment of ditch to the West of the Lodge where you will clearly see the Wall has turned to cross the the road. A marked footpath takes you along the sporadic remains of the ditch which run parallel to Tamfourhill Road and then Bonnyhill Road.

This article details the line of the Antonine Wall from the site of Mumrills Roman Fort through to the earthworks of Rough Castle. Although the rampart has been flattened, this section has several preserved sections of the fighting ditch. In particular the remains at Watling Lodge and Callendar Park are some of the best surviving examples of the earthwork.

Approaching Mumrills

View North from the site of Mumrills Roman Fort

Wall follows Grahamdyke Street

Grahamsdyke Street ends

Grahamdyke Street resumes

Line of Wall aligned to subway/bridge

Wall adjusted course here

Line of the Wall runs on grass bank

Wall turned South-West here

Line of the Wall runs on grass bank

Callendar House

The view North

Falkirk


As you pass the fourth larger tower block on your left the ditch disappears and Estate Road appears in front of you. The Wall diverted sharply here onto a South West heading between the two tall tower blocks in front of you and then adjusted West and then North West. This small diversion of the Wall can’t easily be followed, so cross Estate Road and follow Eastburn Drive until it intersects with the B8080 and then turn left. The line of the Wall crossed the B8080 at Williamson Street but then immediately returned to its originally Westerly course buried under modern buildings. Therefore keep walking until you get to the junction with Cow Wynd. Turn onto that road and take the next left onto Booth Place - you are now back on the line of the Wall.

Booth Place - Line of Wall - View East

Booth Place - Line of Wall - View West

Falkirk Roman Fort


At the end of if the road turn right and you’ll find yourself at the Howgate Shopping Centre. This was the site of Falkirk Roman Fort which enclosed an area of around 3 acres. Little is known about this outpost and there is no evidence of which unit garrisoned the fort.

Howgate Shopping Centre

Private Road - Line of Wall

Arnothill Lane - Line of the Wall

Anson Avenue

The View North

Follow ditch towards B8080

Strachan Street

Watling Lodge


As soon as you access Tamfourhill Road the line of the Wall becomes obvious as a well preserved section of ditch (the best surviving segment on the entire Wall) becomes visible. Following the earthworks upto Watling Lodge.

Towards Watling Lodge


At the end of Strachan Street the line of the Wall passed through the two tall tower blocks in front of you, crossed Glenfuir Road and aligns parallel (to the South) of Tamfourhill Road.

Line of Wall

Line of Wall

Fighting Ditch at Watling Lodge East

Watling Lodge West

Watling Lodge West

Approaching Rough Castle


At the end of Bonnyhill Road you reach some traffic lights crossing over a railway bridge. Don’t cross and instead look left - you’ll see a marked footpath to Rough Castle - the next Roman Fort on the Wall. Follow it but when you reach the sign and boulder below, turn right onto the path labelled ‘Falkirk Wheel’. Don’t follow the sign to the fort or you’ll miss the line of the Wall.

Line of the Wall


As you follow the path to the Falkirk Wheel, the line of the Wall runs in the treeline to your immediate right. Traces of ditch are visible. Ignore the next sign you get to and keep going straight on - the Wall is still running to your left. You’ll eventually get to a track taking you into the treeline - and this is the point where the Wall veers and heads West-South-West towards Rough Castle.

Ignore this sign

Line of Wall in trees to right

Follow track to Rough Castle

Rough Castle:

(Extensive earthworks)

Lat/Long:  55.997772N 3.856083W

Grid Ref:   NS 8433679868

Postcode: FK4 2AA


LAT/LONG

OS GRID REF

POSTCODE

Mumrills Fort

(Site of)

55.996353N 3.736128W

NS 9181379516


FK2 9NH

Callendar Park

(Ditch)

55.997142N 3.768299W

NS 8980979654

FK1 1TA

Falkirk Fort

(Site of)

55.998250N 3.785635W

NS 8873179806

FK1 1BB

Anson Avenue

(Ditch)

55.999649N 3.808280W

NS 8732379998

FK1 5JE

Watling East

(Ditch)

55.998176N 3.819371W

NS 8662779852

FK1 4RA

Watling Fortlet

(Site of)

55.997835N 3.824479W

NS 8630779823

FK1 4RA

Watling West

(Ditch)

55.998223N 3.826944W

NS 8615579870

FK1 4RE

Rough Castle Access

55.996640N 3.841874W

NS 8521979718

FK4 2EP

Rough Castle

55.997772N 3.856083W

NS 8433679868

FK4 2AA

Visit the Antonine Wall

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Visit the Antonine Wall