Step inside the 2,000-year-old Roman fortress where Manchester began. See restored ramparts, an ancient garden and excavated foundation.
Explore the ruins and restored structures of Castlefield Roman Fort. This historic structure was built to guard two strategically important roads and to keep the native population in line. Today it offers a fascinating glimpse into the city's history.
Start your visit with a walk through the restored Roman garden that leads up to the fort. The plot includes plants grown in Britain during Roman. These plants include ivy, roses and periwinkle. Adjacent to the garden are the foundations of a vicus, a small village that grew up by the fort to supply soldiers with food and entertainment.
As you approach the North Gate, take note of the lines of defensive ditches. These have been partially restored and would probably have contained obstacles to make enemy assaults more difficult. Stand in front of the reconstructed gate that was built on the excavated foundations of the original. Archeologists believe this is how the gate would have appeared in A.D. 200. You can still see the original stones on the left.
Pass through the gate and look to your right to see the reconstructed foundations of the granary where grain would have been stored. You can even climb the restored West Wall and ramparts.
The fort was built in A.D. 79 and was called "Mamucium," the origin of the city’s name. This is the birthplace of Manchester and the fort’s remains are the earliest example of human settlement in the area. After the Romans abandoned the complex in 410, it was left to decay. During the Middle Ages the decrepit structure was known as “The Castle in the Field” and later shortened to Castlefield.
The fort complex is situated in Castlefield, a conservation area that’s been designated Britain’s first Urban Heritage Park. Take a stroll and discover other relics to Manchester’s past such as canal systems and railway viaducts. Many of the old industrial buildings have been refurbished and are now apartments, bars and restaurants.
Castlefield Roman Fort is on the southwest side of the city center and is easy to get to on foot and by train, tram, bus and car. There is no entry fee.