Hadrian and The Roman Army in the North

Hadrian and The Roman Army in the North

Visiting dramatic Roman Sites along Hadrianís Wall

ArchaeologicalBattlefieldWalking

5th - 10th July 2020
(6 Days)

Guide : Dr Andy Fear

Tour price: £1,975

click here to book

Hadrian and The Roman Army in the North

Visiting dramatic Roman Sites along Hadrianís Wall

ArchaeologicalBattlefieldWalking

Your Holiday Essentials

5th - 10th July 2020
(6 Days)

3 star hotels, full English Breakfast, light lunches, 3-course dinners with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2/3

Guide: Dr Andy Fear

Tour price: £1,975

Single supplement: £245
Deposit: £200

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Introduction

Hadrian’s Wall is the most important site in Roman Britain, with forts, civilian settlements and temples as well as fortifications. A World Heritage listed site, it is the largest surviving monument to the Roman army, stretching for 80 Roman miles from the Tyne to the Cumbrian coast.

In a series of visits and walks in the company of renowned Roman historian, Dr Andy Fear of Manchester University, we examine the role and organisation of the largest professional army until the modern era, placing it in context as we visit the altars and tombstones of its soldiers and their families and explore the remains and reconstructions of fortifications, houses and barrack blocks.

Walks will follow marked national paths, at times over challenging terrain, but nothing that a person of average fitness could not achieve. However, to maintain momentum, those not up to the required fitness standard will be asked to travel by coach and meet the walking group at the far end. Notwithstanding, everybody will enjoy this hospitable tour set amongst the dramatic scenery of Northern England.

Background

Recognising that the Roman Empire could not expand indefinitely, Emperor Hadrian determined to consolidate his frontiers and the resultant wall reflects that change of policy. Occupied for two and half centuries, the Wall was heavily garrisoned, yet much about it is a mystery. Mentioned a handful of times in ancient literature, the changing design and function of Hadrian's Wall has to be deduced from excavation and many puzzles remain for us to discuss and unravel as we travel along it. Hadrian’s Wall is the most important site in Roman Britain, with forts, civilian settlements and temples as well as fortifications. A World Heritage listed site, it is the largest surviving monument to the Roman army, stretching for 80 Roman miles from the Tyne to the Cumbrian coast. But there is much more to these defences than just a wall. Rome’s defences were an integrated system which extended into the lowlands of Scotland and ran down along the North-West coast of England. This tour gives the whole picture of what Hadrian was about, not just the headlines.

Highlights

  • With acknowledged authority Dr Andy Fear
  • Part walking tour visiting key sites
  • Staying in the beautiful market town of Hexham
  • Learn what life was like for Roman Soldiers in Britain

"An excellent tour which was well researched. The Cultural Experience provides a brilliant service and go out of their way to ensure that no one is left out. I am so glad that I have discovered this company."

Itinerary

Day 1 – The Western Wall and beyond

Assemble at our Carlisle Hotel by 12:00 and enjoy a sandwich lunch and introduction. Travel to Maryport, taking in the remains of a freestanding ‘Mile fortlet’ from the western coastal defences and visit the excellent Senhouse Roman museum, built by the Roman fort which may well have been the local command hq. the Taking the coastal route, we visit the site of the western end of Hadrian’s Wall at Bowness-on-Solway whilst at Burgh by Sands we take a short walk along traces of the wall to Beaumont (1.5 km). Return to Carlisle and check-in to our hotel for one night.

Day 2 – Outposts

Travelling into the lowlands north of the wall, at Burnswark Hill fort we discuss Roman siege-craft and see catapult platforms and other traces. We visit the remains of the ‘dangerous’ outpost forts at Birrens and Bewcastle. After exploring the Roman Army Museum at Carvoran adjacent to the wall, we go on to the best internally preserved mile-castle on the wall at Gilsand from where we can enjoy a 2½ km walk along the wall to Birdoswald Fort. Here we see clear evidence of the broad/narrow wall transition, a good section of the ditch preserved by a farm track, the Willowford Roman bridge abutment, sections of turf wall and visit the small museum and internal buildings. Continue to our Gilsand hotel for one night.

Day 3 – Vindolanda and Housesteads

Visit to Vindolanda which formed part of the putative Stanegate frontier, commonly regarded as the predecessor of Hadrian’s Wall and findspot of the famous Vindolanda Tablets This iconic site and its excellent museum provide a great stimulus for discussions about the wall and its developments After lunch our coach takes us to the wall fort at Housesteads from where we will walk the most beautiful and best preserved sections of the wall to Steel Rigg via Mile-castles 37, 38 and 39 (Sycamore Gap) where our coach will be waiting for us (4½ km). Continue to Hexham where we check-in to our hotel for three nights.

Day 4 – Towns and Forts

Our day starts at Carrawburgh Mithraeum dedicated to the Persian sun god much venerated by Roman soldiers, thence to Limestone Corner, where the wall’s ditch was abandoned, the cavalry fort at Chesters, with its impressive bathhouse, and the depot fort at Corbridge. We enjoy a light pub-lunch before returning to explore Hexham, especially its Abbey which houses a number of Roman artefacts.

Day 5 - Beyond the Wall

Today we consider legionary life on the far side of the wall starting at the impressive Bremenium fort and its nearby Roman cemetery. At Chew Green we explore the significant traces of a Roman marching camp and walk a short section of Dere Street. We can examine the excavated metalled road at Holystone and at Risingham we see the earthwork remains of Habitancum fort. Return to Hexham.

Day 6 - Points East (activity level 3)

With brief stops at the Benwell Vallum crossing and the temple of Antenociticus en route, we will visit the remarkable reconstructed gate houses, wall sections, viewing towers and visitor centres at South Shields and Wallsend. Thence to the centre of Newcastle for lunch and a visit to the dedicated Hadrian’s Wall exhibition within the Museum of the North. Drop off at Newcastle Central station at 15:30 from where it will be possible to catch the return train to Carlisle (1 ½ hours) or London.

Recommended Reading List

Photo Gallery

  • Vindolanda Museum
  • Vindolanda
  • View From Tower at Segedunum, Wallsend
  • The end of the Wall, Segedunum, Wallsend
  • Dr Andy Fear in Action
  • Housteads Latrine Block
  • Housteads
  • Gilsland Mile Fort
  • Chester's Cavalry Fort
  • Arbeia Roman Fort

Your Holiday Essentials

5th - 10th July 2020
(6 Days)

3 star hotels, full English Breakfast, light lunches, 3-course dinners with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2/3

Guide: Dr Andy Fear

Tour price: £1,975

Single supplement: £245
Deposit: £200

Booking open

click here to book

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Reviews

View images of our most recent Hadrian's Wall tour here

Take a look at some independent reviews of this tour by previous participants here

Photo Gallery

Hadrian and The Roman Army in the NorthHadrian and The Roman Army in the NorthHadrian and The Roman Army in the NorthHadrian and The Roman Army in the North

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