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A short walk from the car park, in magnificent scenery.
Hardknott Fort is near the Eskdale end of Hardknott Pass which with Wrynose Pass connects Eskdale with central Lakeland – one of the most thrilling and challenging drives in Lakeland.
At Hardknott Fort, MEDIOBOGDUM, to the Romans, historians have dated the most dramatic remains of the Roman occupation (they occupied the Lake District for 350 years) back to around AD125 – built to give protection to the Roman Road that ran from their port in Ravensglass through to Ambleside and eventually over the far eastern fells to Penrith. These remains stretch across an area of around 2.75 acres.
Hardknott Roman Fort as we now call it is found at a height of just over 800 feet on the bottom half of the Eskdale side of Hardknott Pass. Anyone visiting the fort these days will undoubtedly admit that the fort is in a beautiful setting, overlooking the Eskdale Valley with views across to some of the Lake Districts most impressive mountains. Visiting the area to admire its splendour however, is a fairly recent idea and one we take for granted. Turn the clock back about 2,000 years and you can almost hear the pleas from the Roman soldier when he was told of his posting to Mediobogdum, a Godforsaken fort on the northernmost reaches of the Roman Empire.
Testimony to the Roman insistence on including all the comforts their culture had to offer, even in such a remote setting as this, can be seen in the remains of the customary sequence of three bath houses. These are found just outside the outer limits of the main fort. In the 300 plus years that the Romans occupied the fort it makes you wonder just how many trees were felled to heat the water in the hot room.
Inside the confines of the fort the foundations and walls of the soldiers barracks, the commanders house and the granaries can still be seen. An area of level ground is believed to be the parade ground.
There is a small roadside car parking area within about five minutes walk from the fort. The easiest approach is from Eskdale, but even this can be easier said than done, especially during the busy summer months. Many sections of Hardknott Pass are only wide enough for one car at a time. If you get caught in one of the inevitable gatherings of cars on one of the more tricky bends, the drive can turn into quite a challenge.
Needless to say the drive through Hardknott is not for the nervous driver !!.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum