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The estuary of the River Nith, opening into Solway Firth. Bowness-on-Solway not shown on this photo. This shows the Scottish side of the Solway whereas Bowness-on-Solway is on the English side, on the estuary of the River Eden.

Bowness-on-Solway is a village of fewer than 100 houses on the Solway Firth separating England and Scotland. The civil parish had a population of 1,126 at the 2011 census.[1] It is in North-West Cumbria to the west of Carlisle on the English side. The western end of Hadrian's Wall is a notable tourist attraction, along with beaches and wading birds. The village is part of the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


'Bowness' is " a compound of OE 'boga', 'bow', and 'næss', or, more probably, ON 'bogi' and 'nes'. In either case, 'rounded', or bow-shaped headland' ." [2] ('OE' is Old English; 'ON' is Old Norse).

Roman era[edit]

Terminus of Hadrian's Wall

The village is situated on the site of the Roman fort called Maia, the second largest on Hadrian's Wall.[3] There was also a small civilian settlement (vicus) outside the south gate of this fort.[3]

St Michael's Church[edit]

Built atop what may be the granary for the Roman fort in the 12th century, the two original bells were stolen by border raiders in 1626, accidentally dropping them in the Solway during their flight. In retaliation, the villagers raided Dornock and Middlebie, making off with a new pair of bells. Traditionally, on inception, the vicar of Annan petitions the village's neighbours for the return of his bells.

Solway Junction Railway[edit]

In 1869, the Solway Junction Railway was opened between Bowness-on-Solway and Annan in Scotland, connecting to the Maryport & Carlisle railway.

The construction of the railway necessitated a one-mile (1.6 km), 176-yard (161 m) iron girder viaduct across the Solway, the remains of which can still be seen. However, numerous problems attended the viaduct. In 1875 and 1881 it was damaged by ice, and by altering sediment-carrying currents it caused nearby Port Carlisle to silt up and lose trade. In turn this resulted in the abandonment of the Port Carlisle to Carlisle railway.

The station building in 1961

In 1914 the railway was restricted to carrying goods only. In 1921 it was closed entirely, and in 1934 the viaduct was demolished.


  1. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Armstrong, A. M.; Mawer, A.; Stenton, F. M.; Dickens, B. (1950). The place-names of Cumberland. English Place-Name Society, vol.xx. Part 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 123. 
  3. ^ a b Maia at

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°57′N 3°13′W / 54.950°N 3.217°W / 54.950; -3.217