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Resources on Old Scottish Roads


Roman penetration in Strathclyde south of the Antonine Wall, Part One: The Topographical Framework, Allan Wilson, Glasgow Archaeological Journal Vol.19, 1994-95; Part Two: Romanisation, Vol. 20, Page 1-40, 1996-97

Ferries in Scotland, Marie Weir, John Donald, 1988

The Drove Roads of Scotland, A. R.B. Haldane, David and Charles, 1973

New Ways through the Glens, A.R.B. Haldane, Nelson, 1962

The Military Roads in Scotland, William Taylor, David and Charles, Newton Abbot, 1976

Loads and Roads in Scotland and Beyond, Fenton, A. & Stell, G, John Donald Ltd, 1984

Border Highways, John James Mackay, 1998

The Roads of Mediaeval Lauderdale, R.P.Hardie, Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1942

To Move With the Times, The Story of Transport and Travel in Scotland, Anne Gordon, Aberdeen University Press, 1988

MacFarlane's Geographical Collections, Scot Hist Socy, 1906 - see here for summaries and links

Wade in Scotland Edinburgh and London, J B Salmond, The Moray Press, 1934

A Walker's Companion to the Wade Roads, Joan and Arthur Baker, Perth: The Melven Press, 1982

Law of Roads, Streets and Rights of Way, Bridges, and Ferries in Scotland, James Ferguson, William Green & Sons, Edinburgh, 1904

Local Government in Scotland, W E Whyte, Hodge & Co, 1936

Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, edited by Peter G B McNeill and Hector L MacQueen, Edinburgh: The Scottish Medievalists and Department of Geography, University of Edinburgh, 1996. The Atlas contains maps with explanatory text for many aspects of Scottish history. Maps of interest include Roman roads, placename distribution, royal itineraries, monastic foundations, churches and many others. Now available on Scotlands Places website.

Early Travellers in Scotland, Hume Brown, James Thin, Edinburgh, 1978 - see also digitised version on Internet Archive

Walking the Scottish Highlands: General Wade's Military Roads, Michael Pollard & Tom Ang, Andre Deutsch, London, 1984
Highland Highways: Old Roads in Atholl, John Kerr, John Donald, Edinburgh 1991

Grampian Ways, Robert Smith, John Donald, Edinburgh 2002

The Road North, Ronald Miller, Scottish Geographical Magazine, Vol.83, No.2 SDept. 1967, pps78-88

Highland Bridges, Gillian Nelson, West Port Books, Edinburgh 2006 (2nd.edition); also Aberdeen University Press 1990
The Hebridean Traveller, Denis Rixon, Birlinn, Edinburgh, 2004 - chapter 11 on roads
Old Tracks - Cross-country Routes and "Coffin Roads" in the North West Highlands, A E Robertson - on Am Baile website


National Library of Scotland

Online copies of maps


Searchable database of Scottish material in print - search for bridges or roads


The Newman Collection - books and papers relating to roads

(search for Newman, enter Shelfmark for Search Type)

Those with an address in Scotland can register with the NLS for a readers card that will give them online access to many digital resources.

The Military Survey maps are available on the National Library of Scotland website where they can be viewed free of charge. The maps are supported with detailed information on the Military Survey. Copies may also be found in large public libraries.

For the Military Survey roads in the Highlands, see the roysroads website where the roads have been overlaid onto modern maps. The site also contains much useful information about Roy and the Military Survey.

Genmaps site with useful images of old maps

Statistical Accounts of Scotland
The Old and New Statistical Accounts of Scotland were written in the 1790'and 1830's respectively by Local Ministers. Each entry provides a contemporary account of individual parishes and offers a fascinating insight into many aspects of society at the time. Both Accounts offer descriptions of roads and bridges in the parish and often have comments on their administration along with details of transport. The Accounts can be viewed online at EDINA by visiting the non-subscribers section at http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. The Accounts can also be accessed at Googlebooks - a search facility is provided. The printed volumes may be found in large public libraries, local history centres etc.

The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland
The RCAHMS has published a number of county inventories of sites of archaeological, architectural and historical significance and these can include accounts of roads and bridges. The reports are out of print but may be available in large public libraries.

They are also available to view free-of-charge at the ScotlandsPlaces website.

The RCAHMS site also acts as a portal to the CANMORE and PASTMAP databases. CANMORE gives details of specific monuments including roads and bridges and PASTMAP shows their positions on maps and allows viewers to highlight sites and view their associated CANMORE records.

There are numerous books aimed at hikers which will often help to identify the routes taken by old paths and roads through the hills though historical details are rarely given. Copies of these books will easily be obtained in public libraries or in second-hand bookshops.

It will also be worth checking leaflets published by local authorities to promote walking as these will indicate routes, parking places, cafes etc. and often include old roads in their itineraries.