Romans and Reivers Route
Starting at Ae Forest, in Dumfries and Galloway, the 52 mile Romans and Reivers route follows old Roman roads, forest tracks, drove roads and short sections of quiet lane through the heart of notorious Reivers country, providing enjoyable walking, cycling and riding through the Southern Uplands. It is mainly through sheltered woodland and forestry, with some sections through more open farmland.
This route has been developed throughout to a high standard specifically with multi-use in mind, including self-closing gates etc. It's a great route if you have family or friends who wish to accompany you - or do their own thing - on mountain bikes.
The Romans and Reivers Route links directly with the Annandale Way at Beattock and Moffat, and coincides for a short way south and east of Moffat with the Southern Upland Way. At its eastern end, the Romans and Reivers Route links directly with the Cross Borders Drove Road, Buccleuch Rides and Hawick Circular Riding Route. The scope for designing your own longer route is endless!
Sequential sections of the Romans and Reivers Route were launched in 2005 as part of the South of Scotland Countryside Trails network. The entire linear route from Ae to Hawick is now being waymarked and promoted as the Romans and Reivers Route. For detailed descriptions of individual sections see Ae Forest, Beattock to Eskdalemuir, and Eskdalemuir to Hawick.
Who set the route up?
The Romans and Reivers Route was initiated by British Horse Society Scotland, and taken forward as part of the South of Scotland Countryside Trails capital project led by Southern Uplands Partnership. The Dumfries and Galloway side of the route (Ae to Craik Signal Station) was set up by Solway Heritage, and the Borders side of the route by Vyv Wood-Gee, who was contracted to deliver the Tweed Trails arms (and legs!) of SOSCT. The Romans and Reivers Route is now managed by the relevant access authorities (Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council).
Parking and access points
There is good parking, with ample space and easy turning for trailers and horse boxes, at the start of the route at:
- Ae Forest
- Wester Earshaig, where the Romans and Reivers Route meets the Crooked Route west of Beattock (please note that this road is single track in places and it is a fairly steep climb up from Beattock, or drop back down - no problem for trailers, but make sure you are not exceeding the towing or braking limit for your towing vehicle).
- Craik Forest
Additional parking/access points:
- Craigbeck, Moffat (trailer and horsebox parking by arrangement for those not staying overnight - please be prepared to pay for this service)
- Moffat (approx. 1 mile north of the route): large public car park next to the river on west side of A701 heading north into Moffat. Extensive on-street parking in Moffat.
- Samye Ling Monastery at Eskdalemuir (large public car park on good hard standing, if parking trailers or horseboxes here please take particular care not to block the rest of the car park for others visiting the monastery
- Eskdalemuir Village Hall
- Wiltonburn Farm (trailer and horsebox parking by arrangement for those not staying overnight - please be prepared to pay for this service)
Services and Accommodation
Part of the appeal of the Romans and Reivers Route is that although never that far from civilisation, for much of the way you will feel as though you are in the middle of nowhere, and will pass very few villages. The down side to this is that there are limited services and accommodation directly on route, so plan beforehand and make sure you have taken enough food with you to eat along the way, or sorted out where you are going to stay.
From west to east:
Ae: pub/shop and cycle repair, but limited other services
Moffat: wide range of shops, facilities and services 1 mile off the route, including wide selection of accommodation for walkers and cyclists. Horse and rider accommodation available at Craigbeck.
Eskdalemuir: cafe, shop and accommodation at Samye Ling Monastery
Hawick: accommodation for walkers, cyclists, horses and riders at Wiltonburn Farm. Wide range of other accommodation in and around Hawick.