In the south end of Birmingham, not far from Cadbury world, in the open ground between Birmingham University and the Queen Elizabeth hospital, stand a few shallow ditches and mounds, dotted with notice boards. This is what remains of Metchley’s Roman fort, constructed in the mid 1st century, with two separate periods of occupation and abandoned in the Hadrianic period. The fort was timber and turf, with no stonework, and the plan is somewhat complex due to the existence of two distinct sets of ramparts superimposed from the two periods of occupation, as well as several external annexes, each fortified in their own right.
The name of the fort is unknown as no epigraphy has come to light and the fort was abandoned long before the Antonine Itinerary and the Notitia Dignitatum, the two sources used to plot the Roman names of Britain’s sites. The physical remains are rater confusing, and lie in a small area of green that are hard to visit by car, due to the road system and the parking difficulties of hospital and university. There is a station very close. But in a place I never expected to find it, Metchley’s remains form a tiny oasis of calm in a busy concrete world.
Remains: 1/5 Atmosphere: 3/5 Access: 2/5 Overall: 2/5