Hadrian's Wall and vallum between Baron's Dike and Birky Lane at Walby, in wall miles 60, 61 and 62.


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Hadrian's Wall and vallum between Baron's Dike and Birky Lane at Walby, in wall miles 60, 61 and 62.
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Carlisle (District Authority)
Carlisle (District Authority)
Stanwix Rural
National Grid Reference:
NY 44952 60674

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 vallum and their associated features between Baron's Dike and Birky Lane at Walby, survive well as a series of buried and visible remains. Significant information on the development of the frontier system over time will be preserved.


The monument includes the section of Hadrian's Wall and vallum and their associated features between Baron's Dike in the east and the west side of Birky Lane at Walby in the west. Hadrian's Wall survives as a buried feature throughout this section. Its course is depicted on MacLauchlan's survey of the 1850s, but this course has not been confirmed in modern times. The Wall and its ditch were located during an excavation in advance of pipe laying east of Walby. The wall ditch survives as an intermittent earthwork visible on the ground in the east half of this section, which also serves as a reliable guide to the course of the Wall here. Where visible the partly silted ditch averages 0.3m-0.8m deep with a modern drain cut into its base. Elsewhere the ditch is visible as a broad and shallow depression in the fields averaging 0.2m deep, also with a drain cut into its base. Its course has been confirmed in places through geophysical survey in 1981. In this section the ditch upcast mound, usually referred to as the glacis, survives as a feature faintly visible on the ground; elsewhere it survives as a buried feature. The exact location of milecastle 61 has not yet been confirmed. On the basis of the usual spacing it is expected to be located near Wallhead. A geophysical survey in 1981 located the probable remains of the milecastle. The locations of milecastle 62 and turrets 61a and 61b have not yet been confirmed. On the basis of the usual spacing milecastle 62 is expected to be situated approximately 300m east of Walby Grange. Turrets 61a and 61b are expected to be situated at the usual distances between milecastles 61 and 62. The course of the Roman road known as the Military Way, which ran along the corridor linking turrets, milecastles and forts, has been identified for a short distance to the east of Wallhead. There are no remains visible on the surface except for a short section of a turf covered mound, 4m-5m wide and up to 0.4m high. Its course was confirmed during excavation in 1894 by Haverfield. The road consisted of a gravel layer laid over larger stones with a stone kerb and central spine. Its survival here was confirmed by geophysical survey in 1981. However, the unusual survival of this section suggests the possibility that it was reused in the medieval period serving as access to Bleatarn Quarry. South east of Wallhead the vallum survives as a slight earthwork visible on the ground as four parallel mounds, the most prominent ones being up to 1.2m high. Excavations by Hodgson took place here in 1894-5. Elsewhere the vallum survives as a buried feature with no remains visible on the ground except for a slight depression over the vallum ditch in a field 600m east of Walby Grange. However, the course shown on the Ordnance Survey map has been confirmed throughout this section by geophysical survey carried out in 1981. With the exception of the area to the east and south of Walby where three geophysical transects south of Walby Grange and Walby Croft showed the line of the vallum running about 40m north of the position given on Ordnance Survey maps. An excavation cut about 750m east of Walby Grange at the same time as the survey confirmed that the features picked up on the geophysical survey were those of the vallum. The buildings of South Wallhead farm and the associated grounds are totally excluded from the scheduling. All field boundaries and road and track surfaces 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.

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Books and journals
Geophysical Surveys of Bradford, , Report on Geophysical Survey: Hadrian's Wall, (1991)
MacLauchlan, H, The Roman Wall and Illustrations of the Principal Vestiges of..., (1857), 71
Haverfield, F, 'TCWAAS' in Report of the Cumberland Excavation Committee 1894, , Vol. 1 ser,13, (1895), 453-462
Hodgson, , 'TCWAAS' in Notes on Excavations on the Line of the Roman Wall in Cumberland, , Vol. 1 ser,14, (1897), 390-407
Geophysics 24/1981 unpublished, Gater, J, Ancient Monuments Laboratory Report 3508, (1981)
Geophysics 24/1981 unpublished, Gater, J, Ancient Monuments Laboratory Report 3508, (1981)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

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