Antonine Wall project awarded £980,000 funding from  Lottery

The route of the Antonine Wall, which ran through Scotland from coast to coast.

By Lucy Ashton

A project to promote the rich history of the Antonine Wall has received £980,000 funding from the National Lottery.

The Rediscovering the Antonine Wall project will use the money to raise awareness of the 63km World Heritage Site – part of which lies within Goldenhill Park, Clydebank.

The wall marked the most northerly point of the Roman Empire and Council areas it passed through – West Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk – have joined forces with Historic Environment Scotland to bring its fascinating story back to life.

The additional funding will be used to support the £2.1million project for the next three years.

The source for the funding was the same one that turned down the opportunity to further support the Maid of the Loch project on Loch Lomondside.

The group plan to place replica distance markers based on the Roman originals at five sites along the Wall with information about its history.  The West Dunbartonshire replica stone will be located in Old Kilpatrick.

The Roman presence, including other parts of the Wall, are believed to have run through Dumbarton and even as far as Gartocharn on Loch Lomondside.

And a recent paper was published by academics at the University of Cork in Ireland which states definitively that St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Old Kilpatrick, where his father was a decurio (paymaster) for the Roman troops.

There will also be Roman themed playparks, designed in association with local schoolchildren, created at other sites near to the wall so children and young people can explore and play while finding out about the Wall.  One of the playparks is planned for Goldenhill Park near to the site of the Roman fort.

A programme of 30 community projects, including a Scouts Big Roman Camp Out and a Roman-inspired community garden, will take place throughout the five authorities. This will  allow the project team to engage with hard to reach groups and highlight that the Antonine Wall is for everyone  Community projects within West Dunbartonshire include a planned Roman garden/arboretum which will be a green space for reflection and learning,

As part of the project, which is being led by West Dunbartonshire Council, 300 volunteers will be recruited and trained to help co-design projects in their communities, act as tour guides, help with research and raise awareness.

Councillor Jim Finn, Convener of Planning and Licensing, said: “We are fortunate to have this wonderful part of history on our doorstep and we are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for recognising its value.

“The project being led by West Dunbartonshire Council is working hard to make sure the people of Scotland, and our visitors, can rediscover and enjoy the Wall’s fascinating story, as well as ensuring it is preserved for future generations.

“I look forward to the installation of the planned facilities along the Wall, especially the ones in this area, which will truly bring this historic landmark back to life.”

The Antonine Wall is one of just six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scotland.

Hadrian’s Wall, an ancient Roman wall in Northumberland, was also awarded money from the Lottery fund which will be used by academics at Newcastle University to work with community volunteers to help protect, preserve and interpret the popular ancient monument.

The two projects plan to work together and share ideas and information.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “The Romans left us an incredible legacy from buildings and roads to language and currency. The legacy of the initiatives announced today will be that these internationally-important ancient monuments, and the fascinating history they tell, will be better understood and cared for by their communities well into the future.”

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