Hadrian’s Wall runs for approximately 73 miles (120km) from Wallsend in Newcastle upon Tyne to Bowness-in-furness taking in some of the countries most spectacular and rugged scenery. This truly was the edge of the Empire and was one of the most heavily fortified borders in Europe.

The construction of the wall was begun in AD 122 during the rule of the Emperor Hadrian to separate the Romans from the Barbarians beyond. However, there have been other theories including that of a very effective taxation barrier for traders passing to and from the Empire! Whatever the actual reason, the main construction process was thought to have been completed in around six years by soldiers from all three of the legions posted at the site.

As the wall ran to 80 Roman miles, there were 80 fortified small structures known as “Milecastles” built into the structure. Each of these was built to one of three specific design patterns – demonstrating that each of the three participating legions – the Second, the Sixth and the Twentieth - had their own preferred design. All are about 493 meters apart and measure 4.27 square feet internally. The wall winds it’s way across the open landscape and takes advantage of the natural crags and sills to enhance its defensive position.

Originally this was enhanced with a wide ditch, which would have made the wall even more formidable an obstacle to raiding parties – or potential tax dodgers!

After construction, a series of forts and encampments (the exact number is subject to some debate, but most agree between 14 – 17) were constructed to house garrisons of soldiers. It is thought that the population along the various forts and settlements numbered around 10,000 in its heyday.

Despite it’s formidable presence and number of troops, the wall did suffer from several attacks from the somewhat restless natives, particularly between the years 190 – 197 AD. However by 410 AD the Romans had effectively had their day and the legions had either fled or integrated themselves into the local communities.

Today the wall is a World Heritage Site and is recognized as part of the international “Frontiers of the Roman Empire”. It’s length is covered by a footpath allowing tourists to marvel at such an incredible construction process as well as enjoy some of the finest scenery in the world.