In the short holiday we had last week, we went to Hadrian’s Wall. We found a lovely camping site nearby and walked for miles each day. On our way back home we were talking about how many more things are to see around Hadrian’s Wall. Although, just walking along it is fab, there are amazing views.
Hadrian’s Wall was built in the 2nd century by Hadrian, the Roman Emperor. After his visit to England in 122, he ordered for the wall to be built. The plan was to make a continuous wall from coast to coast, 75 miles (120 km). Along the wall there were plans for large forts, ditches, milecastle and turrets. It was meant to be the most northern frontier.
Birdoswald Roman Fort is a small fort, but it has an interesting exhibition and the views are stunning. To get to the fort, the road passes by the wall.
We didn’t see all this locations in one day. While we were on our way to one of the attractions, I told my husband that I want to go to Bewcastle, as I saw the name on a sign. I thought is a small village and I was right. It is also the surname of one of the main characters in a book series I love, by Mary Balogh. I was surprised to see that there were 3 interesting attractions there: Bew castle, a saxon cross and an old church that has an exhibition with details about the Romans and Dacians that lived and guarded the wall.
People made this place their home for the last 4,000 years or even more. The Romans built a fort at Bewcastle for the patrols that were sent north of the wall. The fort wasn’t like the others, it had 6 sides and it was made mostly of wood. The first soldiers were from Dacia, modern Romania. I knew there were Romanian troups stationed at Hadrian’s Wall, but I discovered by accident exactly the place where they lived.
Romania became part of the empire during the Trajan wars, 20 years before the Hadrian’s Wall was built. The fort was abandoned in the 4th century, as it happened with all the other soldiers stationed on the wall.
The last location I’m going to blog about in this post is Housesteads Roman Fort. We visited another fort, Chesters Roman Fort and Museum, and I’m going to talk about that one in dedicated post.
These were buildings for civilians, outside the fort. They were trading with the soldiers and all these constructions had a positive impact on the locals, as they were able to sell what they were making.
Housesteads Roman Fort is connected to Hadrian’s Wall and it’s one of the most popular. It’s easy to reach, even though our GPS is rubbish at this sort of things (I mean getting us from one place to another) and plenty of parking spaces. The car park is managed by Northumberland County Council and it’s £4 for the day, but you can use the same ticket to park in other car parks along the wall, so it’s quite handy if you plan to visit 2-3 locations.
At the visitor centre is a short film about the history of the place and it’s worth to wait and see it.
The bathhouse with only 2 rooms. It was quite basic considering how much time they would normally spend bathing. Usually the bathhouses were built outside the fort, but security might have been an issue and it was moved inside the walls of the fort for protection.
Communal latrine for the 800 men living there. It has a deep sewer covered with a wooden floor and benches with holes as toilet seats. Rainwater was used to flush the sewer. There were stone tanks to collect rainwater for dry spells.
Housesteads fort is really interesting and I think it should be on the list to visit if you want to see Hadrian’s Wall. Another beautiful place is Cawfield quarry. It’s stunning and the wall is in easy reach of the car park, although it’s steep.
Have you been to Hadrian’s Wall?