Hadrian’s Wall, UK
4.5
1 votes
Are you familiar with this?
Feel free to rate it!
  • For the less active or those with less time available it's probably best to visit one of each of the elements to get a feel for the whole complex
  • The best parts of the Wall itself are at the highest points along the ridge in the centre of the line with Crags in the name – Cuddy's Crags, Walltown Crags, Peel Crags, Windshield Crags
  • Chesters has an impressive baths complex, while Birdoswald has evidence of human occupation extending from the Neolithic to the 1960s - the modern farmhouse still sits bang in the middle of the site If you have time to visit just one, I would recommend Vindolanda
  • Well worth a visit - I can guarantee you will not fail to be both impressed and fascinated

by Villager18
TRUSTWORTHY

all reviews
    Walls have been, and remain, an effective way to keep things in or out, but some are bigger and last a lot longer than others. Hadrian’s Wall for one. It’s a Roman wall running across the north of England roughly from Carlisle in the west to Newcastle in the east. It is the largest extant Roman artefact in the world and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

    Built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian from about 122 to 130 AD, it marked the northern limit of the Roman Empire in the world as well as in the British Isles. Traditionally it was always said it was built to keep out the northern Celtish tribes, or Picts (so-called from their habit of painting their faces – Picti in Latin) but it was never attacked by bands of marauding Celts like some cavalry fort surrounded by whooping Sioux. It was a frontier, doing what borders still do, marking the boundary between two territories. There was movement of people and goods through the wall with authorisation required and duty levied, and of course a military presence to provide security.

    A few facts and figures. The Wall is 73 miles long with 15,000 legionaries involved in the construction. It is more than just a Wall, it is an entire defence system with milecastles and mileturrets at intervals along it, forts behind it, a vallum, or ditch, delineating the militarised area and a military road running behind it for communication. It was not all stone-built – west of Birdoswald it became a turf wall, although parts of this were later replaced in stone. The finished Wall would have been six metres high and probably faced with dressed, painted stones, not the rough stones that are left today. It is estimated that only 10% of the original Wall remains visible: time has taken its toll, especially of the turfed section, as have the local inhabitants in the centuries following who were more concerned with shelter than preserving the heritage for future generations.

    So where should today’s visitor start? Well you could walk the entire length along the Hadrian’s Wall designated footpath – this would take you at least four days and there are plenty of B&Bs, hostels and inns along the way, and baggage transfers can be arranged so you don’t have to carry everything. For the less active or those with less time available it’s probably best to visit one of each of the elements to get a feel for the whole complex.

  • Hadrian's Wall, UK
  • The best parts of the Wall itself are at the highest points along the ridge in the centre of the line with “Crags” in the name – Cuddy’s Crags, Walltown Crags, Peel Crags, Windshield Crags. The name “Crags” is a clue, as you’re up high, with the ground falling away sharply on either side, giving some wonderful views of the Wall snaking along for miles in either direction and making use as it did of the existing contours. What’s left is clearly visible, although it varies in height from a couple of feet to over 6 feet. Most of it is the undressed stone forming the core of the Wall although here and there smooth-faced dressed stone can be seen.

  • Hadrian's Wall, UK
  • Milecastles and mileturrets were built at intervals along the Wall to hold small garrisons of legionaries: the castles typically had a garrison of about 30 and the turrets, two between each castle, were manned by the castle garrison. Nowadays for identification the castles are numbered from east to west, from 1 to 80 and the turrets between them take the same number with the suffix “a” and “b”. Some are no more than turf mounds, but there are good examples of milecastles at 37, near Housesteads fort which has the only surviving remains of an arch in a milecastle, and at 48 near Gilsland which has the only surviving remains of steps.

  • Hadrian's Wall, UK
  • Of the turrets, Brunton Turret (26b near Hexham) is a nice little example where you can clearly see the layout and dimensions of these small fortifications.

  • Hadrian's Wall, UK
  • To the south of the Wall a string of forts was constructed to the standard layout of Roman forts all across the Empire: rectangular, with gates in the middle of each of the sides, watchtowers at the corners, the “principia”, the commander’s residence with the standards and treasury in the centre, and rows of barracks for the soldiers and stabling for the horses. Clustered round the outside of the forts were the “oppida”, tiny townships of local inhabitants who provided services for the forts. 16 forts were built originally, the four remaining forts to be visited are from east to west, Chesters, Housesteads, Vindolanda and Birdoswald. All are in the central section of the Wall, within about 30 miles of each other.

    Each of them offers something different, but the best to appreciate a traditional fort layout is Housesteads where the visitor can walk around and slightly above the site and get a good bird’s-eye view. Chesters has an impressive baths complex, while Birdoswald has evidence of human occupation extending from the Neolithic to the 1960s - the modern farmhouse still sits bang in the middle of the site If you have time to visit just one, I would recommend Vindolanda. This fort is in private ownership and has more on-going excavations and so constantly new discoveries. It is extremely extensive, so more difficult to get to grips with than, say, Housesteads, but the finds on display here are absolutely stunning. The anaerobic soil conditions allowed the preservation of organic material such as wood and leather, the most famous being wooden tablets covered in written messages, from military accounts to personal greetings.

  • Hadrian's Wall, UK
  • Vindolanda also has a mock-up of a wall section to give an idea of what the wall would have looked like in its completed state. Imagine the dimensions of this section extending over nearly 80 miles - as a statement of Roman power it would have been awesome.

    The Wall, together with the milecastles and turrets, is freely accessible. The forts are run by English Heritage and charge entrance fees, currently between £7 and £8 for an adult, as does the privately-owned Vindolanda.

    Well worth a visit - I can guarantee you will not fail to be both impressed and fascinated.



  • Don't Be Nice. Be Helpful.

The review was published as it's written by reviewer in August, 2018. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 3824081664250331/k2311a0824/8.24.18
Your use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms & Conditions
Privacy Policy