Bessie's Hill

Where we are

An Iron Age landscape with views over the River Esk

Over two thousand years ago, the powerful Selgovae tribe ruled Eskdale. Their major base was at Castle O’er; Bessie’s Hill was probably an outpost from where they could keep watch on the comings and goings in the valley.

Nobody has ever excavated the remains of the two distinct structures here, so we don’t know exactly what they were used for. It’s possible one was a fort or lookout point, with the other being a place to live.

Guide map to Forests of the Southern Uplands (PDF 3.72MB)

Walking trails


Iron Age Trail

Climb through the magnificent Norway spruce trees to emerge in an Iron Age landscape. Great views over the River Esk.

Grass and earth paths, with some rough and potentially muddy sections. Some steep slopes and one short flight of steps. There are no waymarkers on the monuments to protect them.

1 ¼ miles / 2.0 km

1 hour

More information

Once, anyone coming along the valley would have seen the imposing site of the hillfort standing prominently above Easkdale valley. A little further on are the remains of another fortified site where most of the tribe would have lived.

The trail visits both structures on the hill. The lower one only has ramparts on three sides: the steep slope of the hill was protection enough on the fourth.


Eskdale Prehistoric Trail

Link up Bessie's Hill with other prehistoric sites in the area by following the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail by car or bike. You can find out more about the Trail at Langholm Walks.

Facilities & access


The nearest public toilets, shops and cafés are in Langholm and Lockerbie.

Getting here

Bessie’s Hill is less than 2 miles south of Eskdalemuir. It travelling from the north on the B709, follow the turning signposted as 'Langholm, Lockerbie, (unsuitable for HGVs)' at Eskdalemuir village. If coming from the south, the same turning is signposted for 'Bailiehill'.

Using SatNav?

DG13 0PL is the nearest postcode.

Get directions

Get in touch

Have a question or suggestion for improvement?

0300 067 6900
More contact information

Share your experience

Find a forest...

View all forests
View all forests

Our website uses cookies.

By continuing, we assume your permission to deploy cookies, as detailed in our Privacy and Cookies policies.