The remains of this fort are quite impressive when approached from the south, where its southern defences, arranged along the edge of a natural scarp above the river are now covered in gorse bushes. The remains of stone-built buildings are visible across the whole of the interior, all beneath an overlying blanket of turf, except at the south-east corner, where several courses of stonework are visible; these belong not to the fort's defences but to buildings in the retentura or rear of the camp, the corner-angle itself having been lost to erosion. The extensive ditch system and entrance causeway is especially prominent on the north, and a scatter of shaped stones on the west rampart marks the position of the gateway on this side.  The only classical reference for the name of the Birrens encampment is contained in the Antonine Itinerary of the late-second century. Iter II, "the route from the 'Entrenchments' to the port of Rutupiae, four-hundred and eighty-one thousand paces", details the journey from Hadrian's Wall to Richborough in Kent. In this itinerary the name Blato bulgio appears as the northern terminus, some 12 Roman miles from Castra Exploratorum (Netherby, Cumbria), both stations lying beyond the Wall of Hadrian.


Roman Period


Birrens, a Roman camp, in Middlebie parish, Dumfriesshire, a little SSE of Middlebie church, 1½ mile ENE of Ecclefechan, and 3 miles SE of the summit of Burnswark. The Roman camp here is one of the best preserved in Great Britain, retaining its fossæ, aggeres, and prætorium in a state of perfect distinctness. Another Roman camp adjoined this, but was destroyed by the proprietor of the ground about 1820, when it yielded many splendid Roman relics, particularly large, well-cut, ornamental, inscribed stones.


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