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Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall west of Housesteads 3

The Emperor Hadrian gave instructions for a wall to be built across northern Britain when he visited in AD122. This defensive wall would protect Britain from any attacks from Scottish tribes and also mark the northern limit of the Roman Empire.

Hadrian's Wall and old tree, Melkridge Common - geograph.org.uk - 1068757

Three legions took six years to construct the wall which stretched for 73 miles from Segedunum (Wallsend) in the east to Maia (Bowness) in the west. It was mostly made of stone, although some turf was also used.


Sixteen forts were built at regular points along the wall to help defend it. The most famous of these was Housesteads Roman Fort which was built for auxiliary soldiers.

The Barracks at Housesteads Roman Fort - geograph.org.uk - 1533413

A second fortification made of turf called the Atonine Wall was also built across central Scotland in AD142 however this was later abandoned when the Romans decided they didn't have enough soldiers to defend it.