Hadrian's Wall, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian, was a defensive fortification in northern Britain and is the most important monument of Roman Britain. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne in the east to the Solway Firth in the west, spanning a distance of 73 miles and was the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire
The wall was a stone built structure over 6metres high with milecastles and turrets positioned at regular intervals. There was also a fort every five Roman miles, many of which can still be visited today. The Wall comprised a northern ditch, the wall itself, a military way and the vallum, another ditch approx. 30 feet deep with adjoining mounds. In addition to the wall's defensive military role, the gates may have been customs posts.
A significant portion of the wall still stands today, along with many of the forts, milecastles and turrets. A popular way to visit is on foot along the Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail - a 73 mile long distance footpath running from coast to coast. Hadrian's Wall is one of Britain's major tourist attractions and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and now forms part of the international "Frontiers of the Roman Empire" World Heritage Site
One of the best preserved forts along Hadrian's Wall. It occupies a commanding position on a triangular spur of land by the River Irthing in Cumbria. In Roman times, the fort was known as Banna (Latin for "spur" or "tongue"), which reflects its stunning location.
The fort was occupied from approximately AD 112 to AD 400. The western parts of Hadrian's Wall were originally built from turf and later replaced with stone. The stone fort was built after the construction of the wall, and the gateways to the east, west and south can still be seen along with the fort walls, interval towers and granaries.
Birdoswald is the only site at which significant occupation in the post-Roman period has been proved. Excavations on the site between 1987 and 1992 showed continued occupation on the site of the fort granaries. These were replaced by two successive large timber halls, dating to the 5th century and the west gateway continued to be used into the medieval period, possibly as late as the 15th century. This suggests that fort was a significant dwelling long after the end of Roman rule in Britain.
The two mile section of Hadrian's Wall around Birdoswald is the only known part where the turf wall was later replaced by a stone wall on a different line making Birdoswald the only area in which both the walls can be seen
A short walk east of Birdoswald, passing the remains of Harrows Scar Milecastle, lays the remains of Willowford Bridge. This carried Hadrian's Wall across the River Irthing. Over time, the change in the rivers course has left the bridge abutments exposed and visible remains are highly impressive. Walking further on into the pretty village of Gilsland, the remains of Poltross burn, one of the best preserved and largest milescastles on the wall, can be seen. To the west of Birdoswald lie the remains of Banks Turret & Pike Hill signal station, Leahill Turret and Piper Sike Turret.
Lanercost Priory, founded by Robert de Vaux in c1169 to house Augustinian Canons, is situated only a short distance from the remains of Hadrian’s Wall at Banks Turret in the village of Lanercost. The majority of the remaining building date from the late 13th century. The Priory buildings were constructed, at least in part, from stones derived from Hadrian's Wall, including a number of Roman inscriptions that were built into its fabric. The Lanercost Tea Rooms also house the Hadrian’s Wall visitor information Centre.
Housesteads Roman Fort or Vercovicium is the remains of an auxiliary fort on Hadrian's Wall. The fort was built in stone around AD 124, soon after the construction of the wall began in AD 122.
Hadrian's Wall was begun in AD 122. A fort was built in stone at the Housesteads Roman Fort site around AD 124 overlying the original Broad Wall foundation and Turret 36B. The fort was repaired and rebuilt several times, its northern defenses being particularly prone to collapse. A substantial civil settlement (vicus) existed to the south, outside the fort, and some of the stone foundations can still be seen, including "Murder House", where two skeletons were found beneath an apparently newly laid floor when excavated.
Vindolanda was a Roman auxiliary fort just south of Hadrian's Wall, which it predates. Located near the modern village of Bardon Mill, it guarded the Stanegate, the Roman road from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth. It is noted for the Vindolanda tablets, among the most important finds of military and private correspondence (written on wooden tablets) found anywhere in the Roman Empire.
The Vindolanda site museum, also known as Chesterholm Museum, conserves and displays finds from the site. The museum is set in gardens, which include full-sized reconstructions of a Roman temple, a Roman shop, Roman house and Northumbrian croft, all with audio presentations. Exhibits include Roman boots, shoes, armour, jewellery and coins and a small selection of the tablets themselves, on loan from the British Museum
Senhouse Roman Museum sits adjacent to the site of the Roman fort of Alauna which is in the coastal town of Maryport. The fort was established around AD 122 as a command and supply base for the coastal defences of Hadrian's Wall at its western extremity. There are substantial remains of the Roman fort, which was one of a series along the Cumbrian coast intended to prevent Hadrian's Wall being outflanked by crossing the Solway Firth. The Roman fort site was owned from the 16th century by generations of the Senhouse family. The family's collections are housed in the Senhouse Roman Museum, a converted Victorian battery next to the site. The numerous Roman artefacts include a substantial collection of altars. The site has yielded more altars than any other in Britain, and the finds have been made over a long period of time, from Tudor times to the present century
Ravenglass Roman Bath House is a ruined ancient Roman bath house at Ravenglass which orginally belonged to a 2nd-century Roman fort and naval base. The still standing walls are 4m high and patches of the internal rendering and the splayed window openings can still be seen.
Chesters Roman Fort, or Cilurnum, is located near Chollerford on Hadrian's Wall and was built around AD123. Chesters is considered to be the best preserved Roman cavalry fort in Britain. Inscriptions found on alter stones at Chesters show the First Cohort of Dalmatians, from present-day Bosnia-Herzegovina and the First Cohort of Vangiones from Upper Rhineland in Germany were stationed here. The fort also guarded the bridge which carried the Roman road across the River Tyne. The massive abutments of this bridge survive today. Corbridge Roman Town , or coria was a fort and town 2.5 miles south of Hadrian's Wall, and the longest occupied site along the line of the wall. Corbridge was a significant fort due to its position at the junction between the Stanegate, the roman road running west towards Carlisle and Dere Street which ran north toward Scotland and south towards London.
Segedunum was a Roman fort at modern-day Wallsend. The fort lay at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall near the banks of the River Tyne, forming the easternmost portion of the wall. It was in use as a garrison for approximately 300 years, almost up to 400AD. Although lost to housing development in the 19th Century, the whole fort has been laid out along with reconstructions of key buildings making it the most extensively excavated fort along the line of the wall. Arbeia was a large Roman fort in South Shields which has been partially reconstructed. Arbeia was founded around AD120 and was used as a maritime supply fort for Hadrian's Wall, and at its height has 22 stone built granaries. A reconstruction of the gatehouse was built in 1986/7 and replicas of a 3rd century barrack and 4th century courtyard house can be visited.
Close to the wall at Once Brewed is The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre, which opened in July 2017. Northumberland National Park’s flagship centre, The Sill aims to inspire people of all ages to explore the landscape, history, culture and heritage of Northumberland. Northumberland National Park is designated an International Dark Sky Park and is Europe’s largest area of protected night sky at 572 square miles and a fantastic place to gaze upon up to 2,000 stars at any one time. The furthest object you can see with your naked eye is the Andromeda Galaxy – a huge array of stars similar to the Milky Way. The Sky Park is also the best place in England to see the Aurora Borealis.
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