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It's Not Hadrian's It's Ours!
Hadrians Wall (Newcastle)
Member Name: ks.h
Hadrians Wall (Newcastle)
Date: 03/05/02, updated on 29/07/02 (422 review reads)
Advantages: The most important monument built by the Romans in Britain, Best known frontier in the entire Roman Empire
The Roman Emperor Hadrian, who came to Britain in AD122 ordered the building of a wall to mark the boundary of the Roman Empires greatest outpost and to keep the barbarians out, over a period of six years the Roman army built a stone wall eighty Roman miles long, which converts to approximately one hundred and seventeen kilometres or seventy three modern miles, it was five metres (over sixteen feet) high and stretched across England from the Tyne to the Solway, the two extremities now being Wallsend in the east and Bowness in the west.
It was one of the Roman Empire’s greatest feats of engineering, at each Roman mile along the wall there was a milecastle guarded by eight soldiers and between the milecastles, at one third and two thirds of a Roman mile interval there were sentry turrets therefore the whole length of the wall was constantly manned and every soldier was within sight of another; the whole of the countryside around the wall was under constant observation by the Romans.
A deep, wide ditch (called a Vallum) flanked by mounds of earth was dug about ten metres north and south of the wall, these Vallums offered extra protection and made it more difficult for barbarians to penetrate the wall by slowing down anyone trying to attack. Once the wall was completed the Romans strengthened their position by building garrison forts at intervals across the country within easy reach of the wall and the local Celtic people built small towns around the forts to serve the needs of the soldiers and government officials.
By AD410 the Roman Empire had declined and Britain was abandoned. The wall became derelict and stones were removed and re-used in local buildings and field walls. Today the best remaining sections of the wall are only one metre high but they a
re still very impressive and there are still many forts, milecastles, temples and turrets to visit along the line of the wall, as well as museums, reconstructions and visitor centres, which all help to bring the whole frontier to life. Hadrian’s Wall is not just the surviving Roman remains, but the landscape surrounding the wall, the field walls, barns, great castles and churches that have all been built using stone stolen from the wall.
There is so much to see and do along the route of Hadrian’s Wall it would be impossible to write in detail about every attraction but some of the must see sights are the Museums and Forts along the route of the Wall.
Wallsend Tyne and Wear
Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum (Tel. 0191 295 5757)
Here you find a military settlement marking the eastern end of the Wall on the banks of the River Tyne. Attractions at Segedunum include a section of the Wall, a reconstructed Roman bathhouse, a visitor centre showing what life was like in a Roman Fort, a thirty-five metre tower providing a bird’s eye view of the layout of the excavated fort and an archaeologists dig.
Corbridge Roman Site and Museum, Northumberland (Tel. 01434 632349)
Known to the Romans as Corstopitum, Corbridge developed into a prosperous garrison town and a supply base for Hadrian’s Wall. This is a lovely little town next to the River Tyne and the Museum contains some fascinating archaeological finds and remarkable sculptures.
Chesters Roman Fort and Museum, Northumberland (Tel. 01434 681379)
Chesters is an extensively excavated cavalry Fort, built next to the wall to accommodate five hundred soldiers. There are impressive remains of a Roman bathhouse along with a Museum containing Roman sculptures and inscriptions.
Housesteads Roman Fort and Museum, Northumberland (Tel. 01434 344363)
Know to the Romans as Vercovicium, meaning ‘place of the effective fight
ers’, this is an extensively excavated fort on a dramatic size and contains the only visible example of a Roman hospital in Britain, there are also superbly preserved Roman latrines with a flush system as well as the remains of granaries and barracks.
Vindolanda Fort and Museum, Northumberland (01434 344277)
Extensive remains of the fort and civilian settlement can be seen at Vindolanda, meaning ‘white fields’, together with rare Roman writing tablets including an invitation to a party held almost two thousand years ago, leather items, textiles, pottery and wooden objects in the Museum. In the grounds you will find ongoing excavations and reconstructions of Hadrian’s Wall in turf and stone, a Roman Temple and Roman house.
The above are just a few of the attractions along Hadrian’s Wall, archaeologist digs are constantly ongoing and there is a wealth of opportunities for walks alongside the wall, the local transport system offers special Hadrian’s Wall rover tickets and there is a year round “Hadrian’s Wall Bus” connecting all the major sites to the main town of Hexham.
Hadrian’s Wall is a very fragile monument; stones removed or damaged can never be replaced. Every single human and animal footstep causes a tiny bit of wear and tear that over time adds up to irreparable harm. To ensure this special part of our heritage is handed on to future generations a footpath runs alongside the wall and you are asked never to walk on the actual wall. An estimated one and a quarter million people visit Hadrian’s Wall each year so it is very important we care for, and preserve it.
To find the wall head for the River Tyne and follow the signs, most of the wall can be reached from the A69 Newcastle to Carlisle road. Hadrian’s Wall is often mistakenly thought of as separating England from Scotland, in fact almost ninety per cent of Northumberland lies north of the wall
and nowhere along its entire length does Scotland come within miles of the remains.
For information about Hadrian’s Wall contact:
Hadrian’s Wall Information Line - Tel. 01434 322002
Newcastle Tourist Information Centre – Tel. 0191 277 8000
Carlisle Tourist Information Centre – Tel. 01228 625600
Hexham Tourist Information Centre – Tel. 01434 652220
Information and timetable for Hadrian’s Wall Bus can also be obtained from Hexham Tourist Information Centre.