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Here is our
route following (as closely as possible) the remains of Hadrian's
The waypoints are marked as below:
|1.||Wallsend - The Museum of Segedunum|
|3.||Humshaugh - Roman Watch Tower, Ford and Fort.|
|4.||Housesteads - Roman Fort and Museum|
|5.||Vindolanda - Roman Fort, Museum and Restaurant.|
|6.||The Roman Army Museum (Not visited)|
|7.||Bowness-on-Solway (Wallsend Promenade)|
Tom Tom Itinerary File of the route
Save the file to your Tom Tom in the 'INT' folder, then use the Itinerary planning function to select the itinerary and navigate the route.
The itinerary was planned using Trace Your Route Everywhere (Tyre)
The Museum of Segedunum at Wallsend
Our journey starts at the Museum of Segedunum near Newcastle. This museum marks the site of the original Roman Fort that protected the eastern end of the wall as it turned towards the Tyne estuary. The Museum is well worth a visit and it boasts some excellent artefacts and (some are replicas or re-creations) which were discovered on this site.
|Replicas of Roman artefacts found at the Fort of Segedunum.|
The Roman Bath house
A recreation of a typical Bath House at a Roman Fort. Clearly, the museum has taken the extra effort to recreate this typical bath house to show how the Romans spent much of their off-duty hours. Even more interesting was the communal roman toilets (3rd picture from the left). Toilets were segregated as male and female but its clear that the romans enjoyed a community spirit in their ablutions. The only thing missing would be the slave selling wet sponges on sticks that were used in lieu of toilet paper.
|Examples of a Roman Fort and the life of a Roman Soldier|
The Museum shows a typical layout of army barracks that would house around 1000 soldiers. It also describes the lives of individuals, ranging from a Centurion down to a slave girl. It provided a glimpse of how life really was 2000 years ago and how the Roman occupation of Britain radically altered our culture and created traditions and a way of life that continue even today.
|A soldiers kit included everything he needed to fight and live. All soldiers and auxiliaries went through rigorous physical training to enable them to march between 30 and 50 miles per day and then build a defensive fort from the materials they carried. This speed of deployment, discipline and physical toughness was the key to the Roman army's success throughout history.|
Although these banners indicate the different support functions, each Roman Legion received an Eagle from the Emperor which they fought under and guarded with their lives. This tradition continued even today although we no longer march to meet enemies with banners flying and drums beating. The museum provides an excellent feel for the quality of equipment that the Roman Army was accustomed to using.
|The Museum also provides an excellent account of the history of the Swan Hunter Ship yards from its origins to its eventual decline.|
At our next stop, Heddon-on-the-Wall may look a little disappointing at first but it is one of the few remaining examples of the original roman wall. This section is narrower than the wall that started from the West coast, but it seems that when they got about half way across the country, the width of the wall was reduced from 10 Roman feet (3 metres) to around 6-8 Roman feet (2.5 metres) probably to help with the logistics of this mammoth project.
The bridge at Humshaugh (Chollerford) was originally the site of a ford that was protected by Chester's Roman Fort and Watch Tower. Park at the Tea Room beside the roundabout then cross the bridge and follow the footpath signs to visit the Tower and ford. Then continue up the B6318 to visit Chester's Fort.
The Roman Fort at Housesteads is run by English Heritage and is claimed to be the most complete example of a Roman Fort in Britain. However, be prepared for a tough walk from the car park to the remains of the fort and don't even try to take wheelchairs or buggies in order to get to the fort and museum.
|Here is a lovely example of how the wall followed the natural terrain. You may also recognise this tree in a valley that was used in the making of Robin Hood starring Kevin Costner.|
The Roman Fort and Museum at Vindolanda, run by a private trust, was without doubt the highlight of the trip. Both the remains of the fort and the exceptional artefacts on display in the museum were outstanding and should form a definite goal for anyone's tour of the wall. Although Vindolanda is a few miles down a one-way road, the site offers excellent parking, museum and restaurant facilities. The fort sits in a beautiful valley protected from the wind and makes for a very pleasant place to walk and investigate the ruins.
The site at Vindolanda is subject to regular archaeological
study and has proven to be the source of some excellent Roman
artefacts including a hoard of letters, reports and other documents that were
dumped at the site as it was eventually deserted as the Roman Empire
declined and shrank.
It appears that Vindolanda was occupied as a Fort for around 285 years and the site was used over the years for the construction of 7 timber forts and 2 stone forts all built on the same ground. The timber forts had to be replaced regularly because they gradually wore out and rotten. Eventually a stone fort was built, which itself was replaced at a later date and the 9th and final fort is the one we see today. Each time the Romans decided to rebuild the fort, the old one was demolished and then filled in to make a level site for the new fort. In this way, the Romans provided a layered history of their occupation at Vindolanda which is being used today to re-discover the history of the site and the people who lived there.
Bowness-on-Solway marks the western end of the wall but unfortunately, there is little remaining evidence of the wall west of Vindolanda. Once you get to Bowness, you can find a little pathway marked the 'Wallsend Promenade' where a quaint little arbour provides information on the Roman wall and provides an excellent little garden where travellers can sit, relax, and enjoy the conclusion of their wall tour.
|We stayed overnight at the Gretna Hall Hotel which adjoins the famous Gretna Green Blacksmith's Courtyard where couples could come to get married. Here we include a few scenes from around the village, which is always worth a visit.|
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