Back to Top

Iconic landmark of Roman Britain

Hadrian's Wall

Milecastle 39 and Crag Lough on Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland National Park by Roger Clegg.

Milecastle 39, Steel Rigg and Crag Lough. Photo by Roger Clegg.

Hadrian’s Wall and the area around it is a stunning testament to the power of the Roman Empire.

You can discover the delights of the Wall for yourself at Cawfields, Sycamore Gap, Steel Rigg and Crag Lough, Brocolitia and anywhere along Hadrian’s Wall Path. For the full story, Housesteads Roman Fort, Vindolanda Roman Fort and Chesters Roman Fort have museums and exhibitions packed with finds.

Nearby, the villages and towns of Hexham, Haltwhistle, Greenhead and Simonburn are wonderful spots to enjoy a hearty lunch or spot of afternoon tea. Picnickers will love Walltown Country Park. Greenlee Lough National Nature Reserve is great for birdwatching.

The history of Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian’s Wall is a magnificent achievement, a fixed frontier of the Roman Empire from coast to coast, occupied by soldiers and civilians. Begun in AD 122, it took six years to complete a barrier 73 miles long, across the land from the Solway Firth to Wallsend on the River Tyne.

It twists and snakes along dramatic crags and escarpments. There were more than 80 milecastles or forts, two observation towers and 17 larger forts. To the south, a ditch six metres wide was dug.

Once the Romans left Britain 300 years later, much of the wall fell into decay and was recycled into local buildings and houses, and threatened by the increasing demand for roadstone from the quarries at Walltown and Cawfields.

The 1913 Ancient Monuments legislation brought much of the Wall into the care of the nation, and in 1987, it became a World Heritage Site, joining truly world class heritage like the Pyramids of Egypt and the Taj Majal. No other heritage site in Europe gives as much public access to so many archaeological remains.

Did you know?

The wall is not a boundary between England and Scotland, as it was built centuries before the countries existed. It marked the northernmost part of Roman Britannia.

Connect with Northumberland National Park


Planning in the National Park

Northumberland National Park Authority is the statutory Planning Authority for the area of the Northumberland National Park. View our planning pages here.