Torwoodlee Hillfort, and
Plus I mention The Rink at the bottom
Torwoodlee Hillfort and Torwoodlee Broch, are in a sense
the same site in Galashiels in the borders area of Scotland.
( Also I have a small article on The Rink, Iron Age Hillfort at the bottom of this page, a couple of miles south of Gala )
They are positioned to the north west of the town, and overlook the former mill town with a view down the valley towards the 3 hills, which have Eildon Hill North, so identifiable in terms of location far away in the distance.
It is a highly denuded fort, that barely remains, both in the ramparts and the broch, bit even despite that, it still retains importance.
First of all as a Iron Age hillfort, that covers a small area on the summit of the hill, it shows that Iron Age society had a fort up here, which is significant.
More importantly there was a broch here, it is now sadly gone apart from some bare foundations, but as the most southerly broch in Scotland, and when you look at sites like Moussa, then this is a great fact.
I myself got there, by looking at maps, and noticing it was to the west of Torwoodlee Golf course, I expected it to be right beside, but it turned out to be on a hill slightly above it.
We drove to Clovenfords, a village a few miles west of Galashiels. Then walked up to a path that signposted itself to the fort. We then walked east for half an hour or so, or maybe a hour, and came across a clearing overlooking the gold course. We walked north, past the fort, then retraced our steps, and I found the broch and fort up a hill there, so a nice find. The best thing, was the view from the top.
There is also a Torwood broch, or Tappoch Broch near Falkirk, I read that connection between 2 quite southerly Scottish brochs for that structure, not that Falkirk is in what we would call South Scotland, but it is very southerly for brochs, on a post on Twitter from 2020.
The broch was built when the Romans withdrew from Scotland in 100AD or thereabouts, and was possibly destroyed by the Romans in 140AD, in one of their moves into Caledonia.
Apparently it is said though there are 3 brochs of Galashiels, according to a youtube video, so these are the most southerly in Scotland. There is also Bow Castle Broch, and Crosslee's broch. On top of that for the borders, there is also Edin's Hall broch near Duns. Bow Castle and Torwoodlee are more known about and even they are not that famous that Crosslee.
Any of the pictures of site on this site, need my permission to be used, This page was written in October 2020 and updated in October 2021.
THE Articles on hillfortS
Below, are more pictures
of Torwoodlee hillfort and broch
For sale on Amazon Including more pictures of Torwoodlee. The 47th Part, of the Land of Hillforts, the pictures and maps, for Scotland, related to my story the Land of Hillforts. I have here my Iron Age and Dark ages themed map of Scotland, in portions, which is also on part 46. Plus some amateurish pictures of, some of these sites. I have over 200 pictures here, mostly by me, and of those, most of mine are of not that great a level. Ones taken by me are not public domain, but I got some from public domain, from websites. So of mine, around 20 or so are of the area around Burnswark Hillfort, and around almost half a dozen each of the fort by Gretna Service station and the Eildon Hills, each of those 3, are not in the forts themselves but from outside of them. Then I have some crannogs and broch pics, mostly by others, not many. Then about 50 pictures of mostly by me, of Dumbarton Rock / Castle, really of the castle as I did not get to the top. Then about 35 pictures by myself of the area, of the enclosure known as the Mull of Galloway enclosure. Then some of some random Scottish hillforts, barely 1 or 2 each, you can see, but most of those unlike my pics are public domain I got off the internet. Then also some pictures of Scottish countryside, mostly by myself again, as it fits the scene. Then lastly over 62 pictures of my walk towards Torwoodlee broch and hillfort.
So this is not anything too special, but may be of use to people who read my work, or who can not get to Mull of Galloway, or Torwoodlee Broch
Galashiels is a town which has a quite large amount of hillforts in a comparatively close area.
The town itself runs in a north west to south east direction, following the line of Gala Water, and then the The Tweed, which then passes the nearby town of Melrose and it's commanding Eildon Hills.
So Torwoodlee and it's broch sit at the north western top end, but according to Atlas of Hillforts, also there is a small suspected former fort by Torwoodlee to add to that less than a KM from the broch and it's hillfort. Plus down near the Eildon Hills, and their mighty hillfort, by Melrose, there are sites of a much smaller size, at Castestead, another near Huntlyburn House, also Cauldshiels Hill, Quarry Hill, Hareseat Wood, Newstead, Easter Hill, and Camp Plantations have sites of a small size identified as forts all in the very near general area.
Also about 4 miles south of the centre of Galashiels (2 miles south of Gala depending on where you mark as the edge of Gala) is The Rink, also known as the Rink Hill Fort, and Rink Hill Iron Age Hillfort. This is a fort that if you drive from the road between Selkirk and Gala (Selkirk is about 5 miles south west up the River Ettrick that joins the Tweed at the bridge this fort overlooks. The Tweed by the way comes from the west of there, and is south of Galashiels, The Tweed itself meanders from west then abruptly turns south of the west of Gala, then comes up to the southern edge of Gala joining with Gala Water before heading off east to Melrose, and meandering beyond to Berwick Upon Tweed.
So back to the area of the fort south of Gala, you look up to the left from the bridge crossing the Tweed and Ettrick Water area, (Surely a quite important point historically) and see a circle of trees on the cusp of the hills. It turns out this circle of trees site is a ring a circle, which apparently is likely the reason for the name. Ring a similar meaning to Rink. You know like all those forts in England with the word ring at the end,
The site is a Iron Age site, and has a farm and self catering cottage of the same name, nearby this Rink Hill. People have got there from the Policies in Galashiels, which are some woods on it's west and then across some sheep and cow hills, but along paths, and also from the old bridge over the Tweed, a couple of miles south of Gala. It overlooks the Tweed in a magnificent vantage point, seeing what comes and goes along the main road along the Tweed. Like many forts there was a initial construction and later periods. But today the ditch and original Iron Age walls enclose a interior of 65 metres by 55 metres covering 0.28 hectares. It has ditches and walls conspiring to create at least 2 metres of depth for any visitor, but it is really the trees and unevenness of the rocks, that cause it to be difficult at points to walk around in. I myself saw the whole fort has been surrounded by a farmers wall, a brilliant protective element, but a gate has been added. Turning it into a plantation of trees, and berries, fallen logs, and bracken that make walking round the fort inside the farmer's wall a task, but a interesting one. Additionally once in the interior there are more logs and trees, and vegetation. It is a sight where you can still see original rubble walls, piled up creating this circular fort, they reach quite width in size 4.2 metres at point. So shaped like Emain Macha, but it seems to have been a defensive site. Another statement is the RCAHMS state the site is 135 metres by 85 in area. What I like best is how it is so identifiable from the road below, with the trees pointing sharply out of the site.
Actually barely a few minutes walk in the fields north west is a other site identified by Atlas of Hillforts, also within trees, much smaller than has been identified as a fort, barely 0.1 hectares in size. I think I saw the tips of this much smaller group of trees, from the road leading up from the bridge, towards Galashiels itself. Closest name I can find, is to identify it as the Rink 2. I did not go to the other side of the fort, even on my second visit there, so did not have a good look at that site. All I know is that it is there, in the general landscape that goes on the road towards Gala, and that iI only saw those trees, from the road down below by the farm. Of Course the main Rink, was very visible in terms of its distinctive shape from down near the farm and it's buildings that surround it.
Plus to the south west beyond the road south of the fort is another identified fort at Sunderland Hill a KM or 2 away. I wondered if it was those higher hills, that look like in comparing ways seemingly more bare, like Welsh "moel" hills, but later when looking at the Oxford project on hillforts, saw the site is nearer than them, so must have been that lower down hill, that has a noticeable pattern on it, that itself may be a natural formation, but to me looks almost square at points. I mean could that be something amazing. Though actually it is not noted by anything, indeed I think it the fort is just beyond those formations, barely metres away, on the other side of the cusp, from there, and is smaller. But I have almost certainly seen that fort's hill.
Back to the main Rink. In fact The Rink has had Iron Age pottery found at it. Plus 1st and 2nd Century Iron Age brooches, Apparently the fort was mentioned in the 16th Century as Langrinck. There are better sites and videos of this site than my page of course, but I like mentioning this interesting site., That though it has little to do with them, also reminds me of Irish ringforts or fairy forts, and such as they were often covered in trees, and nature, but this site is not connected to that story. It is also so well protected by the wood, and the stone wall, that is a proud thing for the area.
It is at a altitude of 200 metres.
A spindle whorl has been found at the site.
Plus it has been said to be 0.9 hectares. It has 2 ramparts, with that deep ditch as well.
Here is a pic of the Rink on the cusp of the hill south of Galashiels, it is where those trees are.