Hadrians Wall Sites in Cumbria

Hadrian's Wall, a World Heritage Site, was built AD122 - 128 by order of the Emperor Hadrian. It is 73 miles (117km) long and 15ft (5m) high. Roman rule ended in AD410. Hadrian's Wall ends in the west at Bowness-on-Solway. However the Romans did build other defenses along the west coast of Cumbria.

At every Roman mile along the Wall they built a small fortlet, called a milecastle. These were defended gateways and would have barracks to house troops. The milecastles provided access through the wall for soldiers and civilians. Regularly spaced between each pair of mile castles were two turrets.

Much of the wall was vandalized in later years to provide building stone for local projects. Sections remain in varying states of preservation or decay with some in Northumberland, like the Housesteads site, offering an excellent picture of life along the wall. Most of the wall is in the care of English Heritage www.english-heritage.org.uk

In Cumbria, in addition to Hardknott, Birdoswald, and Binsey Roman forts, there are several minor sites under the care of English Heritage that were part of Hadrian’s Wall.

Willowford Wall, Turrets and Bridge

Willowford wall by Chris LeeA 914 metre (2,999 feet) stretch of Hadrian’s Wall, including two turrets and impressive bridge remains beside the River Irthing.
Open site
Location: west of minor road, 3⁄4 mile west of Gilsland.


Banks East Turret

Banks east turret by maljoesWell-preserved turret with adjoining stretches of Hadrian’s Wall.
Open site
Location: On minor road east of Banks village; 31⁄2 miles north-east of Brampton.


Hare Hill

Hare hill by Leanne AllsoppA short length of Wall, still standing 2.7 metres (8.8 feet) high
Open site
Location: 3⁄4 mile north-east of Lanercos.



Harrow's Scar Milecastle

Harrows scar milecastle by Mike BishopA mile-long section of the Wall, rebuilt in stone later in Hadrian’s reign. It is linked to Birdoswald Roman Fort.
Open site
Location: 1⁄4 mile east of Birdoswald, on minor road off B6318.

Poltross Burn Milecastle

Poltross burn milecastle by Harold BrelstaffOne of the best preserved mile castles on Hadrian’s Wall; includes an oven, a stair to the rampart walk, and remains of north gateway.
Open site
Location: on minor road east of Banks village; immediately south-west of Gilsland village, by old railway station.

Pike Hill Signal Tower

Pike hill signal tower by billogsRemains of one of a network of signal towers predating Hadrian’s Wall; later joined to the Wall at an angle of 45 degrees.
Open site
Location: on minor road east of Banks village.


Leahill Turret and Piper Sike Turret

Piper sike turret by Duncan CampbellTurrets west of Birdoswald; Piper Sike has a cooking-hearth
Open site
Location: on minor road 2 miles west of Birdoswald Fort.


Photo courtesy of Chris Lee , maljoes , Leanne Allsopp , Mike Bishop , Harold Brelstaff , billogs , Duncan Campbell.

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