Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the road to Simonburn and the field boundary east of Carrawburgh car park in wall miles 29, 30 and 31


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010961

Date first listed: 12-Dec-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Hadrian's Wall and vallum between the road to Simonburn and the field boundary east of Carrawburgh car park in wall miles 29, 30 and 31
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Humshaugh

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Newbrough

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Simonburn

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Warden


National Grid Reference: NY 87219 71460


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Hadrian's Wall marks one of the frontiers of the Roman Empire. The international importance of the surviving remains has been recognised through designation as a World Heritage Site. The military importance of the Tyne-Solway route across the Pennines was recognised by the Romans during their early campaigns through northern England and into Scotland in the second half of the first century AD. At this time a military road, the Stanegate, was constructed along with a series of forts. Subsequently the Romans largely withdrew from Scotland and there is evidence that the Tyne-Solway route was being recognised as a frontier by the start of the second century AD. This position was consolidated in the early second century by the construction of a substantial frontier work, Hadrian's Wall, under the orders of the Emperor Hadrian. Hadrian's successor, Antoninus Pius, subsequently attempted to establish the boundary further north, between the Clyde and the Firth of Forth, but by c.AD 160 growing unrest amongst the native populations of northern Britain and pressures elsewhere in the Empire caused a retraction back to the Hadrianic line. Hadrian's Wall was then the frontier of the Roman Empire in Britain until c.AD 400 when the Roman armies withdrew from Britain. Stretching over 70 miles from coast to coast, Hadrian's Wall was a continuous barrier built of stone in the east and, initially, of turf in the west. The stone wall was originally designed to be ten Roman feet wide and sections of this width are termed broad wall. A change of plan shortly after construction began led to a reduction in the width of the Wall to eight Roman feet, such sections being termed narrow wall. Today, stretches of both wall types survive, including some sections of narrow wall built on broad wall foundations. For most of its length a substantial ditch on the northern side provided additional defence. Where the Wall crossed rivers, bridges were constructed to carry it across. Construction of the Wall was organised and executed by legionary soldiers. From the beginning the barrier was planned to comprise more than just a curtain wall. At regularly spaced intervals of about a mile along its length lay small walled fortlets known as milecastles. These were attached to the southern side of the Wall and most had a gateway through the Wall to the north. Hence they controlled crossing points through the Wall as well as affording space for a small stable garrison. Between the milecastles were two equally spaced towers known as turrets. Together the milecastles and turrets provided bases from which the curtain wall could be watched and patrolled. Both the turrets and milecastles are thought to have been higher than the Wall itself to provide suitable observation points. It is often assumed that a platform existed on the Wall so that troops could actually patrol along the wall top; it is however far from certain that this was the case. At the western end of the Wall a system of towers, small fortlets and palisade fences extended the frontier system another 30 miles or so down the Cumbrian coast and helped control shipping moving across the estuary of the Solway Firth. As originally planned, and apart from whatever space there was in the milecastles, provision for the accommodation of garrison troops manning the Wall was left with the line of forts which already lay along the Stanegate. At some point a fundamental change of plan took place and forts were constructed along the line of the Wall itself. There are now known to have been 16 forts either attached to the Wall or in close association with it. Some overlay earlier features such as turrets or milecastles. At this stage another linear element, the vallum, was also added to the defensive system to the south of the Wall. This was a broad flat-bottomed ditch flanked by a pair of linear banks. It shadows the course of the Wall for almost all its length, sometimes lying very close to it but sometimes up to a kilometre away from it. The vallum's main function was to act as a barrier to restrict access to the Wall from the south. It also had a function in linking the forts along the Wall with a method of lateral communication. When the forts were placed along the wall line no provision was made for a road to link them. This situation was clearly found impracticable and a metalled track was therefore provided in places along the vallum between the north mound and the ditch. Later, after the withdrawal back to the Hadrianic line from the Antonine Wall, various refurbishments were made throughout the frontier line. At this stage a new linear feature was added: the `Military Way'. This was a road linking all elements of the Wall defence, running from fort to fort within the area bounded by the Wall and the vallum. Throughout its long history the Wall was not always well maintained. It was often neglected and sometimes overrun, but it remained in use until the late fourth century when a weak and divided Roman Empire finally withdrew its armies from the Wall and Britain. It now survives in various states of preservation. In places, especially in the central section, the Stone Wall still remains several courses high and the attached forts, turrets and milecastles are also clearly indentifiable. Earthwork features such as the ditch, vallum and Military Way also survive well in places. Elsewhere the Stone Wall has been virtually robbed out and only its foundations survive beneath the present ground surface. Similarly, stretches of the earthwork remains, including sections of the Turf Wall, have been levelled or infilled and now only survive as buried features. Although some sections of the frontier system no longer survive visibly, sufficient evidence does exist for its position to be fairly accurately identified throughout most of its length.

Hadrian's Wall and its associated works between the minor road to Simonburn and the field boundary east of Carrawburgh car park survive well as upstanding and buried features for most of this section. There are two particularly well preserved sections of consolidated Wall and the impressive rock cut wall ditch and vallum ditch at Limestone Corner. Elsewhere the remains survive as earthworks and buried features. Significant information on the development of the frontier system over time, will be preserved.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the section of Hadrian's Wall and associated features between the minor road to Simonburn in the east and the field boundary to the east of Carrawburgh car park in the west. This section of the Wall follows an alignment straight from the North Tyne to the high point at Limestone Corner where it changes to a more westerly direction and occupies the gentle west facing slope all the way to Carrawburgh. There are good views to the north and south all along this section, and in particular from Limestone Corner. All the upstanding remains of Hadrian's Wall, the milecastles and turrets in this scheduling are Listed Grade I. The Wall survives as a buried feature for most of this section, except for the two well preserved sections west of the minor road to Simonburn. The two upstanding sections of Wall are consolidated and in the care of the Secretary of State. The east section is about 122m long and reaches a maximum height of 1.8m. The west section is about 48m in length and slightly lower. Elsewhere the Wall is visible as a low stony bank with a maximum height of 1m, or as a trench with spoil heaps either side of it. These trenches are the result of excavation in 1951 to either side of milecastle 30, when it was shown that the Wall in this section was narrow wall on a broad wall foundation. Beyond Limestone Corner the line of the Wall is overlain by the B6318 road and there are no upstanding remains visible. The outer ditch survives well throughout this section and averages over 2m deep. The ditch is most impressive at Limestone Corner where it has been cut through the bedrock to a maximum depth of 2.8m. To the east of Limestone Corner the rock-cut ditch was left unfinished. The upcast mound from the ditch, known as the glacis, survives intermittently throughout this section. It is best preserved west of Limestone Corner where it attains a height of 2.7m. Milecastle 30 is situated on the high ground of Limestone Corner with commanding views in all directions. It survives as a turf covered platform up to 0.8m high. Excavation by Simpson during 1927 showed that it measured 20.2m from north to south. Part of the east wall is upstanding, measuring 3.1m long and 0.6m high. The Military Way survives as a turf covered causeway leading up to the south gateway of the milecastle. Milecastle 31 is situated immediately to the east of Carrawburgh car park with wide views to the north and south, but with a restricted outlook to the east and west. It survives as a low turf covered platform 0.25m high. The remains of north wall of the milecastle lies beneath the B6318 road. Traces of the road connecting the milecastle to the Military Way survive as a causeway 0.15m high. Turret 29b survives as a turf covered mound with parts of the north, west and east walls surviving up to two courses. The road connecting the turret to the Military Way is discernible as a slight linear mound. It was excavated during 1912 by Newbold who found the doorway in the east end of the south side and a ladder platform in the south west corner. Heavily burnt masonry and rubbish indicated that the turret had been destroyed by fire and was then left in ruins. Turret 30a is situated about 400m east of Carrawbrough Farm below the B6318 road. It was located during 1912, though there are no surface remains visible now. Turret 30b is located about 50m west of the drive to Carrawbrough Farm partly below the B6318 road. The south side of the turret is visible in the field to the south of the road as a turf covered scarp, 0.5m high. The course of the Roman road known as the Military Way, which ran along the corridor between the Wall and the vallum linking turrets, milecastles and forts, is not known with certainty for most of this section. However, according to the observations of Horsley made in the 1730s and trial excavations by Newbold in the early 1900s, it is generally considered that the Military Way overlay the north mound of the vallum for most of this section. Further excavations in 1911 confirmed this interpretation. For this reason it is believed that the B6318 road overlies it between Chesters and Limestone Corner. At Limestone Corner the Military Way is visible as a low causeway, 0.6m high, leading to the south gateway of milecastle 30. Beyond the milecastle it rejoins the north mound of the well preserved vallum. Excavations during 1911 confirmed this to be the case. The vallum is very well preserved throughout this section. It survives as a series of upstanding earthworks and an impressive rock cut ditch around Limestone Corner. The north mound averages 1.2m for most of its length where it is not overlain by the B6318. The south mound averages about 1m in height with crossings identifiable about every 42m. The ditch is mainly rock cut in the east half of this section with sheer sides and depths of up to 3.5m. In the west half of this section the ditch also survives well and averages 1.9m in depth. All road surfaces, road signs and field and property boundaries within the area of the monument are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 26053

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Birley, E, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hadrian's Wall: some structural problems, , Vol. 4 ser,38, (1960), 52
Newbold, P, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Excavations of the Roman Wall at Limestone Bank, (1913), 63-66
Newbold, P, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Excavations of the Roman Wall at Limestone Bank, (1913)
Newbold, P, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Excavations on the Roman Wall at Limestone Bank, , Vol. 3 ser,9, (1912), 56

End of official listing