About Branodunum Roman Fort
Branodunum Fort is a 3rd century Roman fort located on the Norfolk coast, that once protected its settlements from Saxon invaders.
Branodunum Roman Fort history
Built in around 225 to 250 AD, Branodunum Fort is one of 11 Roman forts known as the ‘Saxon Shore’ defences, found on England’s southern and eastern coasts.
Like its counterparts, Branodunum was initially built to help control trade around the coastline, but later took on a more defensive role, protecting the land from invaders from the North Sea. Its name derives from the local Celtic language, and is thought to mean ‘fort of the raven’.
A tile found at the site suggests its initial garrison were the First Cohort of Aquitania from modern-day south-west France, while a later 4th century document states that Branodunum was garrisoned by a Dalmatian cavalry from modern-day Croatia.
Branodunum Fort would remain garrisoned for some 150 years, before finally being abandoned when the Romans left Britain. Its walls remained standing in the 17th century, however the robbery of its materials in the centuries to follow left only the earthworks behind.
Branodunum Roman Fort today
Today Branodunum Roman Fort is managed by the National Trust, and lies amongst the Brancaster Estate. Information boards at the site provide a reconstructed image of what it once looked like, alongside its interesting history. No stone ruins remain, however crop marks of the fort’s inner buildings may still be seen.
For those interested in Roman Britain, Branodunum provides a peaceful walk through some of Norfolk’s picturesque countryside, and offers a glimpse into some of its oldest history. The nearby Brancaster Beach also is of historical interest, as due to its similarities with the beaches of Normandy, it was used for training as a practice beach in the run-up to the D-Day landings.
Getting to Branodunum Roman Fort
Branodunum Roman Fort is located in Brancaster, Norfolk on the A149, with parking available on Beach Road in the village. The nearest train station is King’s Lynn, from which the 36 bus service may be taken to the Saxon Field stop in Brancaster, a 5-minute walk to the site.