Explore Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site
Stretching 80 miles (120 km) from the Solway Coast in Cumbria to Wallsend near Newcastle Upon Tyne, Hadrian's Wall is quite impressive in itself. The UNESCO World Heritage Site totals to 110 miles, continuing at both sides from Arbeia in South Shields to Ravenglass in Cumbria.
The Wall was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site (WHS) in 1987.
Now, it's part of a much larger and more ambitious Site: the Frontiers of the Roman Empire (FRE), a ‘transnational’ Site: the result of the German Limes being added in 2005, and the Antonine Wall (between the Forth and the Clyde, in Scotland) in 2008.
The Wall was built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian c. AD 122 at the northernmost limits of the Roman province of Britannia. It is a striking example of the organisation of a military zone and illustrates the defensive techniques and geopolitical strategies of ancient Rome.
So what exactly did it take?
Six years later, and largely due to three legions made of 15,000 men, there was a wall, reaching 6m high in some places.
Originally reaching over 3106 miles from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, through Europe to the Black Sea and on to the Red Sea, across North Africa to the Atlantic coast. Although it has changed somewhat since then, alongisde the remains of the wall itself there's ditches, forts, fortresses, watchtowers and civilian settlements.
The Antonine Wall, a 38 mile (60-km) long fortification in Scotland was started by Emperor Antonius Pius in AD 142 as a defense against the “barbarians” of the north. It constitutes the northwestern-most portion of the Roman Limes.
Hadrian's Wall is a perfect example of the Romans forward-thinking, planning, tenacity and power. The structure they accomplished was a massive feat of engineering creeping over the countryside, crossing rivers and hugging the formidable crags of the Whin Sill near Bardon Mill.
Today, the Wall stands as the best known and best preserved frontier of the Empire and is a testament to our forefathers and history.
With the help from National Trust members and donations we care for six of the most iconic miles of Hadrian’s Wall from Sewingshields in the East to Cawfields in the west including the iconic Sycamore Gap.
It's a place to get away from it all, gather your thoughts, talk through your thoughts (whether that's to someone joining you, or yourself) and enjoy the 'now'.The views are so stunning that they were were such an inspiration to George R.R. Martin and helped set the scene for his best-selling books and TV series, Game of Thrones, it's also home to an array of wildlife and nature, including the endangered Large Heath butterfly and rare fungi.
We work closely with partners such as English Heritage and Northumberland National Park to keep this special place alive for future generations to experience too.
What might you encounter?
With a history that goes back almost 2,000 years, you can imagine how life was for the 800 Roman soldiers based here. Wander the remains of the barrack blocks, the commandant’s house and see if you can find some of the oldest toilets you'll ever see!
Visit Housesteads Roman Fort
Placed astride a narrow nick in the ridge top which allowed some access to the north, Milecastle 37 is now in part obscured by the 19th-century excavation spoil heaps. The Milecastles were the earliest phase of building the Wall, acting as 'rest stops' for soldiers and travellers.
Sycamore Gap is famous for its scene-stealing moment in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner. The Wall surrounding the gap shows it was repaired with lime mortar and the construction deposits sealed pottery datable to the late 2nd-century.
For miles around, Crag Lough dominates the wall's landscape almost always in shade by the vertical towering of the Whin Sill. The Lough is home to mute swans, busy coots, mallards, tufted ducks and goldeneyes and you can even climb the Crag if you fancy it?