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.
The view from the Winshields wall, the highest point on Hadrian’s Wall.
I mentioned the views are stunning. We would have walked and walked along the wall, it was so beautiful and peaceful.
The tallest remaining part of Hadrian’s Wall can be seen at Hare Hill and it has almost 3m in height. It was rebuilt in the 19th century.
It’s amazing how much of the wall is still intact, after almost 2,000 years.
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.
Leahill Turret. The turrets were basic and their purpose was to offer temporary accommodation for the soldiers that were patrolling the walls.
This is a part of Banks East Turret.
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.
This is the church. Parts of it were built in the 13th century.
The 7th century cross is Anglo-Saxon and it’s over 14 feet high.
Bew Castle is mentioned for the first time in the 14th century. Today the castle belongs to a nearby farm, hence the amount of livestock, but it’s under the guardianship of English Heritage.
The cows at Bewcastle seemed content and not particularly bothered by our presence there.
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.
This is a part of leather military shoes. Amazing that they still survived after such a long time.
The headquarters, in the middle of the fort. Here the Romans would have ceremonies, religious events and were given instructions by their commander.
In the barracks, the soldiers would sleep with their horses, in different areas. I found this fascinating considering how much care they paid to their hygiene.
The granaries for storing food had a very interesting feature. They were raised from the ground to allow air to pass and also to be able to send small dogs to chase mice and rats.
This is an entrance for the dogs.
The hospital. The soldiers were trained in first aid and some forts would have doctors. The doctors were trained in surgery and had knowledge of pharmacy.
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?