Hadrian's Wall, vallum, section of the Stanegate Roman road and a Roman temporary camp between the B6318 road and Poltross Burn in wall miles 46 and 47


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010993

Date first listed: 12-Dec-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Hadrian's Wall, vallum, section of the Stanegate Roman road and a Roman temporary camp between the B6318 road and Poltross Burn in wall miles 46 and 47
© 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.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1010993 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 16-Jan-2019 at 03:30:36.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Greenhead

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Thirlwall

National Grid Reference: NY 64601 65984


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.

The Stanegate military road linked Corbridge and Carlisle, both of which were also situated on important north-south routeways. It also extended west of Carlisle towards the Cumbrian coast. The construction of a series of forts along the road line allowed many troops to be stationed in this crucial frontier area and ensured that the area could be extensively patrolled. A series of smaller watchtowers were also built to help frontier control. The Stanegate frontier thus created, developed further and was consolidated during the late first and early second century AD and helped crystallise Roman tactics and military expectations in the area. The function of the road and its forts changed when Hadrian's Wall was constructed to the north and their support roles were, initially at least, enhanced. The later history of the road and its forts and their relationship with the Wall are less well understood although, overall, their strategic functions declined as the new frontier line was confirmed. Hadrian's Wall and vallum, the Roman temporary camp, and their associated features between the B6318 road and Poltross Burn survive as a series of buried and upstanding remains. 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 vallum and their associated features between the B6318 road in the east and the Poltross Burn in the west. All the upstanding remains of Hadrian' Wall and the milecastle in this scheduling are Listed Grade I. Hadrian's Wall survives as a buried feature throughout this section except for a short section of Wall less than 10m long which was excavated in 1957 ahead of road widening. The Wall here is consolidated and of broad wall foundation, 3.3m wide and up to 0.5m high. Between this section and milecastle 47 the Wall can be traced as a turf covered scarp measuring 3.5m wide and 0.4m high. A modern wall partly overlies this scarp. West of turret 47b the remains of the Wall are again visible as a turf covered scarp, 0.4m high, with a field wall occupying the centre line of the Wall. In the woodland above the east bank of Poltross Burn the Wall survives as a bank of tumbled stone which has a maximum height of 0.5m. Elsewhere the Wall survives as a buried feature with no remains visible above ground, being overlain by a field wall for most of its course. At Chapel House, farm buildings overlie the course of the Wall. As archaeological remains have not been confirmed to survive here this area is not included in the scheduling. The wall ditch survives intermittently as a feature visible on the ground. Where extant it averages 2m deep, but elsewhere it is silted to varying degrees and in some sections there are no surface traces. The upcast mound from the ditch, usually referred to as the glacis, survives as a ploughed down feature to the north of the ditch in parts of this section. Milecastle 47 is situated about 250m east of Chapel House. It survives as a slight turf covered ploughed down platform. Dressed stones from the gate lie to the north on a modern causeway across the wall ditch. Excavations in 1935 uncovered large barrack blocks either side of the central space within the milecastle. An oven was found in the north west corner. This milecastle measures internally 21.2m north to south by 18.5m across. The exact location of turret 46b has not yet been confirmed. On the basis of the usual spacing its remains would be expected to lie under one of the outbuildings of Wall End farm. No upstanding remains are visible above ground. As archaeological remains have not been confirmed to survive here, Wall End farm is totally excluded from the scheduling. The exact location of turret 47a has not yet been confirmed. On the basis of the usual spacing it is expected to lie about 220m west of Chapel House. The exact location of turret 47b has not yet been confirmed. On the basis of the usual spacing it is expected to be located beneath the house and garden of `Meadow View'. No upstanding remains are visible above ground. As archaeological remains have not been confirmed to survive here, The Gap, including `Meadow View', is not included in the scheduling. The exact course of the Roman road known as the Military Way, which ran along the corridor between the Wall and Vallum linking turrets, milecastles and forts, is not known with certainty throughout the whole of this section. The only visible remains survive as a terrace in a north facing slope to the south and west of Wall End farm. Elsewhere it survives as a buried feature beneath the turf cover with few traces visible above ground. The vallum survives as an intermittent earthwork visible on the ground in parts of this section. Elsewhere it has been ploughed down and its remains survive as buried features masked by the turf cover. In the area of Greenhead Golf Course the extant ditch survives up to 1.8m deep and the north and south mounds up to 0.8m high. Either side of the Poltross Burn the vallum ditch is visible on the rim of the gorge where it measures 0.6m deep. The east-west Roman road known as the Stanegate, which was a pre-Hadrianic construction dating to the early 80s AD, survives intermittently in this section as a feature visible on the ground. Where visible it survives as a linear turf covered mound, 0.4m high. Elsewhere its remains survive as buried features. A Roman temporary camp, known as Glenwhelt Leazes, is situated on Greenhead Golf Course. It is situated on the east end of a spur overlooking the gap in the Whin Sill escarpment cut by the Tipalt Burn. It survives as a series of earthworks visible on the ground. The defences are best preserved to the east of the north gateway where the rampart is up to 4m wide and 0.7m high and the outer ditch is 3m wide and 0.5m deep. This north facing rectangular camp measures 150m north to south by 80m across and encloses an area of 1.2ha. The four gateways are particularly significant in that each has both an internal and external defence bank and ditch visible on the ground. The interior has been ploughed and drained creating a levelled area. Wall End farm is totally excluded from the scheduling. All field boundaries, except those built directly on the line of Hadrian's Wall, all road and track surfaces and buildings are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath all these features 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: 26071

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing