Wander through history at Bessie's Hill
Over two thousand years ago, the powerful Selgovae tribe ruled Eskdale. They had a major base at Castle O’er: Bessie’s Hill was probably an outpost from where they could keep watch on the comings and goings in the valley.
Nobody has ever excavated the two distinct structures here, so we don’t know exactly what they were used for. It’s possible one was a fort or lookout point, with the other being a place to live.
You can find out more about the network of prehistoric sites in Eskdale along the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail.
Download our guide map of forests in the Southern Uplands to help you explore Bessie's Hill and other nearby forests.
The nearest places to eat or find toilets are in Langholm or Lockerbie.
Iron Age Trail
Climb through the magnificent Norway spruce trees to emerge in an Iron Age landscape. Great views over the River Esk.
Grass and earth paths, with some rough and potentially muddy sections. Some steep slopes and one short flight of steps. There are no waymarkers on the monuments to protect them.
1 ¼ miles / 2.0 km Allow 1 hour
Once, anyone coming along the valley would have seen the imposing site of the hillfort standing prominently above Easkdale valley. A little further on are the remains of another fortified site where most of the tribe would have lived.
The trail visits both structures on the hill. The lower one only has ramparts on three sides: the steep slope of the hill was protection enough on the fourth.
Mountain biking trails
How to get here
Head towards Eskdalemuir from Lockerbie, Langholm or Hawick. Bessie’s Hill is on a minor road off the B709 between Eskdalemuir and Langholm, at grid reference NY 249 953.
DG13 0PL is the nearest postcode.
There’s a spectacular hill fort just down the road at Castle O’er. You’ll find fine views from Craigieburn Forest, and peaceful riverside walks as well as world-class mountain biking at the Forest of Ae, near Dumfries.
Share your experience
For questions and complaints, please contact us directly.