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 mainly follows forest roads and tracks through sheltered woodland and forestry, with some sections across more open farmland.

This route has been developed throughout to a high standard specifically with multi-use in mind, including self-closing gates etc.  Although designed initially for horse riders, it is equally suitable for walkers and cyclists.  It's a great route if you have family or friends who wish to accompany you - or do their own thing - on mountain bikes.

Online OS-based maps of the route, complete with zoom in function, can be found here

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 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 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 following locations:

- Ae Forest: follow the signs from Ae Village, north-east down the hill and over the river.  Walkers and cyclists may choose to park at the new car park near the buildings opposite the cafe.  Horse riders, dog walkers and anyone wanting a bit more space is recommended to continue along the tarmac road past the buildings, turning left at the signs on the bend, following the stoned forest road to the much more spacious original car park which is the official start of the Romans and Reivers route.

- 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, west of Hawick

- Hawick main public car park on north side of the River Teviot, on west side of A7 immediately after the main bridge over the river.

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): public car park next to the river on west side of A701 heading north into Moffat, can be busy during the summer, limited space for trailers or horse boxes.

- 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: free parking adjacent to the village hall immediately next to the road south of Samye Ling monastery

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:  cafe and MTB washing facilities adjacent to new car MTB car park on east bank of Water of Ae, just north-east of the village.

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 may be 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 shops, pubs, take-aways and eateries in Hawick plus other accommodation in and around Hawick.