Ravenglass Roman bath house

Thousands of visitors arrive at the small village of Ravenglass in south west Cumbria every year to travel on the narrow gauge railway. However, many miss out on visiting what some historians have declared as the tallest Roman structures surviving in northern Britain.

One infantry unit of the Roman army is associated with Ravenglass, the First Cohort Aelia Classica.

One infantry unit of the Roman army is associated with Ravenglass, the First Cohort Aelia Classica.

The Roman bath house at Ravenglass is situated about 800m from the village centre, along a well maintained woodland path, towards nearby Muncaster Castle.

Ravenglass was a major Roman naval base and regional supply point for 300 years.

The bath house was situated just outside the north-east corner of a Roman fort, established in AD 130. Occupation of the site appears to be until the end of the fourth century.

The old fort is now bi-sected by the coastal rail line.

Experts seem unsure as to the name of the fort. Some say it was called ‘Tunnocellum‘ however popular writings indicate the name ‘Glannoventa‘.

This is one of the largest surviving Roman structures in England, measuring about 15 metres by 30 metres, with walls 4 metres (13 feet) high.

The fort at Ravenglass guarded what was probably a very serviceable harbour.

The changing room has a domed niche in one wall, possibly for a statue

It housed everything from hot saunas to cold baths.

Excavations and research have revealed that at least two rooms contained under-floor hypocausts (heating systems).

Some walls still have evidence of cement used to line the walls with a red and white colouring.

The changing room has a domed niche in one wall, which may have contained a statue.

The bath house, is reported as also being called Walls Castle.

The site is in the care of English Heritage

Getting to the Roman bath house

Signposts give directions towards the Roman bath house from a number of places around the village.    These lead you towards the campsite on the outskirts of the village.

Here you pass in front the campsite entrance and join a woodland path, following blue signs towards Muncaster Castle.

After about 500m you enter a clearing and the Roman bath house is in front of you.

Although the path is well maintained, we would suggest suitable footwear especially during the winter as it may get a bit muddy. The path is ok for buggies and powered wheelchairs.

The Lake District National Park has further information about this walk –  Miles Without Stiles 20: Walls Drive, Ravenglass 

Gallery 

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