New signs, better interpretation – and possibly a national trail along the Antonine Wall – are some of the ideas being proposed by a five-year action plan for the World Heritage Site, approved by councillors today.

Falkirk Council’s Executive Committee also gave the green light to officers building better relationships with staff working on Hadrian’s Wall in England, and bidding to attract new external funding into the Scottish site, which dates back to 142AD.

The turf and stone frontier runs from Bo’ness to Old Kilpatrick, near Glasgow. It became a World Heritage Site in 2008.

A report to councillors noted: “In places the (Antonine) Wall is an impressive feature in the landscape, in others its remains are scarcely visible. However, excavations have shown that much survives as buried archaeology and this must be taken into account.”

The local action plan sets out proposals for a range of Council services, working alongside Falkirk Community Trust. The plan sets out proposals to:

  • enhance and promote the Wall for the benefit of local people and visitors;
  • ensure that the Falkirk council sections of the Wall are well managed and maintained; and
  • support and develop new initiatives to add to the appreciation of the Wall’s local heritage and tourism value.

Other local groups and organisations will be involved in the delivery of the plan as and when required (for example, landowners and local community groups with an interest in the site). VisitScotland will also have an important role to play to encourage both national and international visitors.

The Antonine Wall is part of the “Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site”, which includes the Limes, the Roman frontier in Germany and Hadrian’s Wall. Other sites in eastern Europe are also bidding to join this transnational World Heritage Site.

The local Falkirk plan will “encourage” the provision of foreign language materials, with German as a “minimum”. The Council has already produced a guide to the Antonine Wall in the local area in German.

The local authority and partners supported the creation of a new website. An app is also in development, due for launch in 2016.

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council’s spokesman for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said: “There are only five world heritage sites in Scotland – and the Antonine Wall is one of them. Since it gained its UNESCO status there has been a lot of planning and work behind the scenes. But it is important that we deliver things on the ground.

“This new, local action plan guides us to fully develop the social and economic potential of the Antonine Wall in the Falkirk Council area. We want to attract more local people and visitors to find out about our World Heritage Site, and encourage more investment in the ancient history we have on our doorsteps.”