Hadrian's Wall Country
Housesteads Roman Fort

Housesteads Roman Fort

Along Hadrian’s Wall, you will see extensive remains of several forts, used by the Romans to fortify their defensive structure. These are fascinating to explore and none more so than Housesteads Roman Fort at Haydon Bridge in Northumberland. Historians believe that the Romans called Housesteads, ‘Vercovicium’, which translates to ‘the place of effective fighters’.

It’s described as “the most complete Roman fort in Britain”. Situated on the top of an escarpment, the views from here of the Scottish borders and the Tyne Valley are quite spectacular. Pity the poor Roman soldier stationed here, at the mercy of winter weather. There were 800 of them (from Tungria in present-day Belgium), and you’ll see where their barracks were constructed, along with the quarters belonging to their commandant. Also on view are the granaries, with a medieval kiln, hospital, headquarters building, gateways, water tank and turret. Even evidence of the toilets is visible!  To see just how the fort would have looked in its prime, visit the fort’s museum where a model is on display, each chamber and room telling its story. Also in the museum are various artifacts and a CGI film that puts the fort in historic perspective and shows the beautiful countryside that surrounds it.

A short distance away, you can see Sycamore Gap, site of a famous tree, popular for photo opportunities and as a location for picnics. It was filmed for Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. English Heritage continues to do its good work in helping to maintain Housesteads Roman Fort, an important slice of British history.