Hadrian’s Wall is the largest, and perhaps the most famous ancient monument in Northern Europe. Plans for the walls construction were formulated in AD122 when a new Roman Emperor named Hadrian visited Britain. Original plans to conquer and rule the whole of Britain were shelved, as Hadrian opted instead to strengthen defences bordering the land the Romans already ruled over.
Taking around six years to build, the end result was awe-inspiring. Measuring a massive 73 miles long, the original wall structure was around 15 feet high and 10 feet thick. There were 16 forts built along the line of the wall, while ‘mile castles’ and turrets were just some of the defences surrounding the area. The wall was a powerful symbol, but also one that has been subject to debate. While many believed that the wall was built to prevent the Scots from entering roman territories, others believe it was more likely to be a form of border control.
People have long been paying visits to Hadrian’s Wall, which is now a globally renowned tourist attraction. Tourists take in the sites on foot, by cycle, or on the AD122 seasonal bus services. The Hadrian’s Wall Path covers some 84 miles, with circular and short trails for those less used to walking. Example walks include Haltwhistle Burn to Cawfields, and Wylam to Moresby. The Hadrian’s Wall Cycleway covers the whole of Hadrian’s Wall Country, running for some 174 miles, and taking in many of the important roman sites located along the wall. Passengers on the AD122 bus service can also be assured they won’t miss out on any of the major sites, as the bus runs through the countryside from Newcastle to Carlisle, and on to Bowness on Solway.
Although it will be hard to tear yourself away from the famous wall, the wider Hadrian’s Wall Country is well worth exploring too. With sites like the English Heritage owned Corbridge Roman Town, and Ravenglass Bath House, along with Carvoran Roman Army Museum, this is one part of Britain that will never be short of historical attractions.