Explore a Roman fort and the Antonine Wall
Discover a Roman fort, an Iron Age stronghold and a Georgian canal as you explore the wooded slopes of Bar Hill above Twechar. There are wonderful views of the Forth and Clyde Canal as you climb, and the woods are a colourful patchwork of broadleaf and conifer trees.
Wind up the hill and through the woods to reach the remains of a Roman fort. It stands on the highest point of the turf and stone Antonine Wall, built in the AD140s as the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire.
There’s a café with toilets at the community-run Twechar Healthy Living & Enterprise Centre. There are more places to eat, drink and shop in the village, as well as nearby Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth.
Mountain biking trails
Exploring Bar Hill and Twechar Wood
It’s only about half a mile (1km) from the village up to the wood and fort along good gravel paths and forest road. However, be prepared for some fairly steep sections as you climb the hill. Then simply retrace your steps to get back to Twechar.
Stroll beside the canal
You can also enjoy a waterside stroll – watching out for wildlife as well as folk messing about in boats – along the Firth & Clyde canal. The traffic-free towpath is ideal for walking, cycling and running. Enjoy a short stretch along the canal in the village, or take on a long distance challenge by following the Firth & Clyde and Union Canals all the way from Glasgow to Edinburgh.
The Romans in Scotland
When you stand on Bar Hill you can see the line of the Antonine Wall, the remains of a Roman fort and the military road that ran beside it, and the site of an even older Iron Age stronghold nearby. Up here you can really appreciate the strategic importance of the Roman frontier – it commands panoramic views over the Kelvin Valley to the Campsie Fells.
The Antonine Wall stretched 37 miles (60km) between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde and, for around 20 years, this remarkable structure was the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire. The Antonine Wall and fort, a World Heritage Site, are cared for today by Historic Scotland.
Twechar, coal and canals
Twechar is a former coal-mining village that sits close to the Forth and Clyde Canal. The 35 mile (56km) canal opened in 1790 and provided an important shipping route across the centre of Scotland, linking the Firth of Forth on the east coast with the Firth of Clyde on the west, until it closed in 1963. As part of the Millennium celebrations, it was restored and reopened again in 2002. It’s now linked to the Union Canal by the impressive Falkirk Wheel rotating boatlift.
How to get here
Bar Hill lies to the east of Twechar village, off the B8023 between Kilsyth and Kinkintilloch.
Walk north though the village towards the canal, at the war memorial on the right hand side take the farm track, signposted Barhill Fort. Follow the track up the hill (steep section) through the farm gate, please close after you. You will then reach the black metal barrier with squeeze gate that leads to Roman Fort and Barhill, at grid reference NS 700 756.
There is no car park for the wood but you can find on-street parking in Twechar. The path to the wood and fort begins on Main Street, just opposite Twechar Primary School, at grid reference NS 710 751.
G65 9TA is the nearest postcode.
You can reach Twechar by bus from Glasgow, travelling via Kirkintilloch. Find details at Traveline Scotland.
Head for nearby Nethercroy for a stroll through lovely wildflower meadows above the Forth & Clyde Canal. It’s also not far to Carron Valley, where you’ll find scenic family-friendly routes beside the reservoir that are ideal for a walk or cycle ride.
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