Historic Scotland

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Footsteps of the empire

Dere Street Roman Road was built on orders of the Roman governor of Britain Gnaeus Julius Agricola. Agricola campaigned in northern England and Scotland in AD 79–81.

A milestone found at Ingliston reveals that the road was reused during the Antonine period of Roman occupation, around 138–165 AD. It fell into disrepair after the Romans withdrew from Scotland, but it was still frequently used as a line of communication.

King Edward I of England marched his troops along Dere Street to victory over Scottish forces at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298.

The long way north

From its beginnings in Corbridge, north of the Tyne, the original Dere Street road ran:

  • along the River Rede to the River Tweed at Melrose, where there was a large fort at Newstead
  • by the Leader Water to Musselburgh
  • on to Cramond

The road is more than 7m wide and in a state of excellent preservation. Along the road are small quarry pits, which provided gravel for the construction of the road.