Caerlaverock- History Abounds

There are places of such long-standing historical significance on Caerlaverock Estate that they have been key assets to the various communities which surround the estate for probably more than 2000 years. Most of the estate is recognised as having ‘Heritage Status’ and is also recognised as a National Scenic Area.

There are a number of scheduled monuments on Caerlaverock Estate, many of which are only visible from aerial photographs and hold ancient sites which are archeologically significant. The best known, and probably most noteworthy, is ‘Ward Law’ - a naturally raised site which has been used by the residents of the area for centuries, if not millennia, as a site of defensive importance and look-out. The camp is rectangular in form and displays the distinctive 'playing card' shape associated with Roman military sites. Several entrances to the camp are protected by additional lengths of ditch, known as 'tituli'. Excavation at the site showed that the ditch cuts through bedrock, the expense of manpower perhaps indicating that the camp had a longer occupation than that traditionally associated with temporary camps.

The most recognisable ‘site’ on Caerlaverock is the highly unique Caerlaverock Castle. Made of distinctive ‘pink’ sandstone, the castle stands within its own defensive moat. Placed into the guardianship of the nation in 1946, the castle is possibly the only of its kind as a triangular fortress. Caerlaverock Castle was built about 1290, replacing an older castle whose site is part of the complex. There were only short breaks in occupation from then until its destruction in 1640, after a siege by Covenanters. Though it was slighted and rebuilt several times during that period, the later builders have followed the original design.

The estate also boasts a network of paths which link the numerous sites of interest, historical, natural heritage and sites of natural beauty. Recent additions to the network include a dedicated path to Ward Law from the nearby free car park, and paths which now link the National Nature Reserve and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.