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Roman remains from antiquity

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It was built in the AD140s and its remains are still seen to this day.

The Antonine Wall was the north western frontier of the Roman empire and runs nearly 40 miles from Bo’ness through the Falkirk district and central belt to Old Kilpatrick between the firths of the Forth and Clyde rivers.

It wasn’t the most successful of Roman endeavours though.

The wall was built to extend Rome’s territory taking over from it’s more famous counterpart, Hadrian’s Wall, but the Italian legions couldn’t conquer the Caledonians and it came under attack many times forcing them to abandon it after 20 years’ occupation.

These days abandonment is definitely off the agenda and, after it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, there are new proposals to utilise its pulling power to draw more visitors to the area through its fascinating history.

Historic Scotland want the current inhabitants of the Falkirk district to become part of a five-year management strategy to protect and promote the wall in the local area.

A series of meetings are being held in the coming weeks in the communities the wall passes through for people to register their interest and offer ideas on the best way forward. Falkirk’s will be held in the Falkirk Stadium on November 29.

One man who is definitely on board with the project is Falkirk Local History Society chairman Ian Scott and he is urging local residents to get involved.

He said: “Since a very large part of the Antonine Wall is within the Falkirk area it is really important that our area has a strong voice in what is proposed for the next five years.

“Apart from its historical importance the wall and the whole Roman story can be a major tourist attraction which will be of immense benefit to the local community.

“Better signage, better interpretation panels, better exhibition of artefacts and more on the ground events all have a part to play from Bo’ness and Kinneil in the east to Castlecary in the west.

“The local history society would love to see the day when the Falkirk district is home to a major Roman exhibition centre possibly at Kinneil. We will certainly be represented at the meeting and so I hope will many other local organisations and individuals.”

The councils of Falkirk, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire are partnering Historic Scotland for the plans which include better visitor experiences on the sites the wall is visible like the one at Rough Castle near the Falkirk Wheel.

Historic Scotland describe that site as the best preserved length of rampart and ditch and earthworks of a fort, and “the most complete on the wall”.

What has been suggested so far is new walking and transport routes, a guide book, upgrades, improving the website, a mobile phone app, a visitor centre somewhere along the route, re-enactments and closer working with schools.

Patricia Weeks, Historic Scotland’s Antonine Wall World Heritage Site co-ordinator said: “The physical scale of the Antonine Wall, which runs across the whole of central Scotland, means that many groups and individuals may wish to be involved in the preparation of this management plan.

“We held a series of key stakeholder workshops recently and would now like to consult more widely on a series of proposed issues, aims and objectives.

“The purpose of the public workshops is to gather views of local residents, community councils and special interests groups and to find out what actions might benefit them the most over the next five years.

“We are working with a lot of local groups, businesses and organisations including the Falkirk Wheel and the Polmont Woods Group.

“There has been loads of great suggestions so far including more information boards, better signage and somewhere families can eat. We hope to see many local residents and users of the World Heritage Site come along to share their hopes and ideas for the Antonine Wall.

Places at the meeting at the Falkirk Stadium on Thursday, November 29 
from 2 - 5 p.m. must be reserved. Anyone interested can book a place by e-mailing patricia.weeks@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.

 

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