Day Tour of Hadrian's Wall
This evening, I am reprising a one-day tour of Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England.
First, we departed our lodgings near York and drove north for nearly two hours to our first stop at Heddon on the Wall where can be found a reasonably well preserved stretch of the Wall. However, first we called in at a local community centre (Womens Institute) where we availed of refreshments at a coffee morning being held for charity, an interesting event which allowed us to connect with local people.
Next, we visited Corbridge, a site which commenced as a military fort in the 1st century and grew to become an important military and civilian settlement to the south of the Wall. Corbridge has been extensively excavated with an on-site museum displaying the wide number of finds.
Next, we moved on to Vindolanda, a massive site dating from the 1st century AD and which pre-dates the Wall, being part of an early Roman frontier. This was a combined military and civilian complex which is undergoing on-going archaeological investigation and where a wide range of Roman era artifacts have been found ranging from footwear to pottery, weaponry and textiles. Key find here is the famous Vindolanda Tablets, postcard size slivers of wood on which were written (in a form of Latin) routine correspondence from the late 1st and early 2nd centuries and which provide a unique insight into daily life of the era. We availed of lunch at Vindolanda.
Next, we moved on to nearby Housesteads Roman Fort which sits on an escarpment and connects with Hadrian’s Wall. This was a purely military site and is reasonably well preserved featuring granaries, barracks, H.Q., Commander’s residence and a very well preserved latrine. Here we had a brief encounter with a couple of re-enactment Roman soldiers.
Finally, we checked into our lodgings at Huntercrook which offers excellent hospitality plus superb views of the local landscape supplemented with a small menagerie of farm animals.
Tomorrow, we drive north to Edinburgh via the east coast.