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Roman road and fortlet, March Burn to Little Clyde Roman camp

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.4103 / 55°24'37"N

Longitude: -3.5332 / 3°31'59"W

OS Eastings: 303028

OS Northings: 613999

OS Grid: NT030139

Mapcode National: GBR 35RW.WC

Mapcode Global: WH5V0.P8RQ

Entry Name: Roman road and fortlet, March Burn to Little Clyde Roman camp

Scheduled Date: 21 December 1973

Last Amended: 25 July 2022

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3348

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Roman: fortlet

Location: Crawford

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Lanarkshire


The monument comprises a 5.5km section of Roman road and an associated fortlet which date to the 1st or 2nd century AD between the March Burn (NT 04219 13794) and Little Clyde Roman camp (NT 99467 15769). The road survives as a low cambered mound which has ditches along some sections. The Roman fortlet survives as a series of earthen banks and ditches located immediately to the south of the Roman road beside the Redshaw Burn (NT 03006 13980). The road and fortlet are located within a commercial forestry plantation between 330m and 400m above sea level.

The fortlet is situated on the south side of the Roman road above the Redshaw Burn. It survives as a rectangular earthwork with rounded corners which measures around 20m x 17m internally and is enclosed by a rampart 5.5m thick and 0.3m high. There is a single entrance on the north side, facing the Roman road. The road survives as a cambered mound between 3m and 6m wide with some traces of associated ditches and quarry pits. The Roman road is overlain in places by later routeways dating to the medieval and post-medieval periods, and some of the road is now preserved under modern forestry tracks.

The scheduled area comprises the course of the Roman road between the March Burn in the south (NT 04219 13794) and Little Clyde Roman camp in the north (NT 99467 15769). Overall it is 30m wide, except at Redshaw Burn fortlet (centred on NT 03006 13980) where the width of the monument increases to 120m. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The above ground elements of all modern post and wire fences, gates and drystone walls, and the top 300mm of all modern forestry track are specifically excluded from the scheduled area to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17): 

a.  The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past, as part of a Roman, medieval and post-medieval road network and the Roman strategic network of camps, forts, fortlets and signal stations. It adds to our understanding of Roman military expansion into Scotland and medieval and post-medieval trade and transport. 

b.   The monument retains structural, archaeological and other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular there is potential for the preservation of buried features and deposits relating to the Roman road and fortlet, their use, re-use and abandonment. Significant upstanding remains provide evidence of the route's, construction techniques and its reuse during the medieval and post medieval period.

c.   The monument is a rare example of a Roman road and associated fortlet in Scotland where significant upstanding remains survive in form of earthwork banks and ditches.  

d.   The monument is a particularly good example of a Roman road which has survived as an earthwork monument that has been re-used in the medieval and post-medieval periods. It is therefore an important representative of this monument type. 

e.   The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past. It contributes to our understanding of the Roman occupation of Scotland. Investigation of the road could also provide information on its use during the medieval and post-medieval periods and reasons for its subsequent abandonment. 

f.   The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the historic landscape as part of the wider Roman strategic road network. It has the potential to add to our understanding of Roman troop movements and campaigning during the period of Roman occupation.

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

The monument is a well-preserved section of Roman road and a fortlet. In parts the road is overlain by a later road of the medieval or post-medieval period. The road and fortlet formed part of the wider network of roads, camps and forts which were used as part of the Roman occupation of southern Scotland. The road is visible as a raised mound up to 5.5m wide to the west of the fortlet (between NT 0278 1405 to NT 0181 1419) and as a distinct terrace to the north and east of the fortlet (between NT 0383 1385 to 0302 1404). Limited archaeological interventions (Cathcart 2014 and Cathcart and Fyles 2014) have shown that traces of the original metalled survive below ground in areas that do not have visible remains. 

The Roman road was later re-used in the medieval and post-medieval periods and is depicted on early maps of the area, for instance General Roy's Military Survey of Scotland where is it labelled as "old Roman way" (Roy 1747-55) and later on Johnson's map of Lanark where it is shown as 'Roman Road' (Johnson 1842). Evidence of the medieval use of the road were found during excavations while laying a new pipeline (CFA 1991). These revealed a medieval road on the likely line of the earlier Roman Road. It was composed of a peaty soil mixed with round pebbles and measured 2.80m wide between two parallel ruts. The ruts were roughly central to the road with a gap between them of about 1.10m 

The fortlet is rectangular on plan with rounded angles; it measures 19.8m from east-west by 17.4m north-south within a rampart about 5.5m thick and 0.3m in height. There is an entrance, about 4m wide in the centre of the north side, facing the Roman road. The fortlet originally appears to have been enclosed by a pair of banks and ditches, however, erosion of the steep left bank of the Redshaw Burn has partly destroyed the defences. A low mound, probably a road, 3m in width, connects the fortlet with the road to the north. At some point during the Roman occupation this approach was blocked by the creation of a small annexe, access into which could be obtained only from the east side. In addition to its main purpose of preventing a direct attack on the entrance, the annexe may also have served as a waggon park for small convoys passing up and down the road. This fortlet, which has not been excavated, is believed to have been occupied in the 2nd/ 3rd centuries AD. It is one of the smallest of its class (0.8 ha - 0.2 acres in area) and could only have held about forty men.

Scientific study of the monument has the potential to produce more detailed information and improve understanding of Roman military engineering and road construction techniques. The monument may seal features deriving from earlier land use, and will preserve evidence for the construction, use and abandonment of the road. Deposits beneath the road or fortlet may contain important paleoenvironmental evidence that can help us reconstruct the environment before the road was built and any cut features associated with the monument may similarly provide information about the environment while the monument was in use. Archaeological deposits within the monument may preserve material with the potential to provide a better understanding of the development sequence and use of the monument both in the Roman period and later medieval and post-medieval periods.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

This section of Roman road was part of a much longer route which connected the fort at Carlisle (Luguvalio) to the Roman frontier on the Forth-Clyde isthmus via Annandale. It crosses upland terrain which is likely to have been peat and moorland. The road utilises the landscape and illustrates Roman engineering solutions in relation to crosses the terrain. This section is part of a Roman road that links the forts at Milton (scheduled monument SM676) and Crawford (scheduled monument SM2362). Other sections of this road are also scheduled monuments, for example White Type to March Burn, Roman road (SM3329) and Bodsberry Hill to Little Clyde Roman road (SM3941). The Roman camp at Little Clyde (scheduled monument SM2745) may have been a marching camp, utilised as stopping points as the Roman armies marched north and south. The fortlet at Redshaw Burn which has the unusual 'waggon park' on its north side also highlights the complex logistics associated with moving and provisioning the Roman army. The line of the road is marked by a series of signal stations including one at Nap Hill (scheduled monument SM102) which is located immediately to the east of the Roman road 900m south of the Little Clyde Roman camp.

Study of this monument in relation to other Roman monuments in southern Scotland has the inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular the road construction techniques and relationship to the wider road network used by the imperial Roman Empire in its invasions and occupations of what is now Scotland in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Study of the road and fortlet in relation to other Roman monuments has the potential to increase our understanding of the scale of Roman intervention into southern Scotland and it's likely impact upon the native population.

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

The monument is associated with the Roman invasion of Scotland. It may have been used during the Roman advance northward in AD 139 and the establishment of the new frontier, marked by the Antonine Wall – this helped consolidate the reign of the Emperor Antoninus Pius (Breeze 2006, 21).

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 48503 (accessed on 18/05/2022).

Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 71648 (accessed on 18/05/2022).

Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 72895 (accessed on 18/05/2022).

Breeze D J (1996). Roman Scotland. Batsford Ltd.

Cathcart R (2014). Archaeological Test Pits for Proposed Bridge on March Burn to Little Clyde Roman Road Scheduled Monument 3348, Fopperbeck Burn Ford, Upper Howecleuch, Crawford, South Lanarkshire. Alder Archaeology Ltd, Perth.

Cathcart R and Fyles C (2014). Archaeological Mitigation Site 01-03 and 05 on March Burn to Little Clyde Roman Road Scheduled Monument 3348, Howecleuch,Crawford, South Lanarkshire. Alder Archaeology Ltd, Perth.

CFA. (1991) 'Rowantree Grains (Crawford parish): putative Roman road', in Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, 1991. Pg. 65.

Jones R H (2011). Roman Camps in Scotland. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.


Johnson W (1841). To the nobility, gentry & clergy of the county of Lanark this map shewing all the railways, new lines of road &c. is dedicated by the proprietors / (drawn by W. Johnson Engd. by Sidy. Hall). Edinburgh.

Roy W (1747-55). Military Survey of Scotland.

Taylor A and Skinner G (1776). The Road from Glasgow to Longtown by Hamilton, Douglass Mill & Moffat. London.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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