Croy Hill is between Kilsyth and Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire, Scotland
A walk by a canal, then back along the route of the Antonine Wall
How to get there
For SatNav, the nearest post code is G68 0AA.
Heading out of Glasgow on the M80, leave at junction 4A, for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, then take the B802 for Kilsyth. Cross over the first roundabout, then you come to the complicated Craiglynn roundabout. I think you take the 4th left, but follow the signs for B802 Kilsyth. Follow this road for abourt 2 miles, to a roundabout signposted Auchinstarry on the left. Turn right here into the Marina and park up.
Coming from Kilsyth, turn off the A803 at the roundabout by the swimming pool onto the B802, signposted Cumbernauld, then follow this road down to the canal, over the canal, then turn left at the roundabout.
You can see a map of the route here.
From the car park, head back to the roundabout, over the Forth and Clyde canal, and just over the canal take a path to the right that runs along the towpath. Follow the towpath for about a mile and a half until you come to another road bridge.
Leave the towpath here, cross over the bridge and about 20 yards past the canal you will see a path on the right going into the trees (not the path right by the canal). Follow this path as it winds through the trees until it joins a larger path, turn right and follow the larger path. As the path goes beneath the overhead electric cables, you will see another path off to the right. Follow this path, which runs alongside a ditch that was part of the Antonine wall. Keep right on, over the top of Croy Hill and down to the back of Croy village behind the bowling green.
Just past the green, turn right then left after about 50 yards and follow this path that runs alongside the road, back to your car.
For a longer walk with a bit more history, instead of turning right past the bowling green, go straight on over the road and continue along the path marked in purple on the map. This path continues to follow the Antonine wall, and will take you to Bar Hill Roman Fort on the hill summit. There was another fort on top of Croy hill, but there is little trace left. However you can see traces of the Bar hill fort. If you still want to walk, you can continue on until the path meets the canal again, where you can get onto the towpath and walk back to your car that way.
The Romans were active throughout southern and eastern Scotland at various times, and in 140 AD, the emperor Antoninus Pius decided to build a new wall between the Forth and the Clyde, so cutting off the northern tribes and establishing a new north-western frontier. The Antonine Wall was built from AD142 to 144 and ran for 37 miles from Bo'ness on the River Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the River Clyde. The wall was probably meant more as a boundary symbol and to control the movements of people and goods, than a military obstacle. The wall was built of turf on a stone foundation, was 12 feet high, and 15 feet wide and probably had a wooden walkway on top, protected by a wooden breastwork.
The wall was protected by a 12 foot deep ditach at the front, and serviced by a military road at the back. The Romans built 19 forts along the wall at about 2 mile intervals, and 2 of these existed on this walk.
As the wall was built of turf and only in use for about 20 years, not a lot of it survives today, apart from the defensive ditch.
This walk takes you right over Croy Hill, where one of the forts on the Antonine wall used to stand. You will see little evidence of it today, except 2 two raised platforms that which may have been used for signalling. This makes sense when you got to the top of the hill and see the views over the surrounding landscape. You can see right over to the Firth of Forth to the east and the next fort at Bar Hill to the west.
If you chose to extend the walk to Bar Hill, you will see the remains of that fort right on the summit. The wall itself runs on the slope of the hill a little bit to the north. Archaeologists excavated the fort arounf 1980 and left the foundation stonework of some of the buildings on view so you can get an idea of what the fort was like.
The Tow path by the canal should be disabled friendly