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Hadrian's Wall Vallum between West End, Burgh by Sands and the eastern boundary of Dykesfield

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Hadrian's Wall Vallum between West End, Burgh by Sands and the eastern boundary of Dykesfield

List entry Number: 1018308


Hadrian's Wall Vallum from West End, Burgh by Sands in the east to the eastern boundary of Dykesfield in the west.

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Burgh By Sands

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 12-Dec-1928

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Dec-2017

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 28472

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

The buried and slight earthwork remains of a section of the Vallum from West End, Burgh By Sands in the east to the eastern boundary of Dykesfield in the west.

Reasons for Designation

The section of Hadrian's Wall vallum from West End, Burgh by Sands to the eastern boundary of Dykesfield is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: LiDAR data and archaeological evaluation have confirmed that its course is reasonably well-preserved as a series of buried deposits, and that slight but tangible surface traces are present in places;

*Potential: significant archaeological, artefactual and environmental information relating to the origin, development and abandonment of the frontier system over time will be retained;

* Historic: Hadrian's Wall is an outstanding example of a fortified limes; it is one of the frontiers of the Roman Empire, exhibiting an ambitious and coherent system of defensive constructions, whose universal value has been recognised through its designation as a World Heritage Site.


Hadrian's Wall marks one of the frontiers of the Roman Empire, and the international importance of the surviving remains has been recognised through designation as a World Heritage Site. Construction began in AD 122 and, extending over 70 miles from Bowness-on-Solway in the west to Wallsend on the River Tyne, it consists of a number of inter-linked linear elements with attached strong points. From north to south the linear elements are: the ditch, massive and V-shaped though not complete all along the line; the berm between the ditch and the wall often containing associated features; the Wall itself, built of stone for most of its length although initially entirely built in turf in Cumbria; the Military Way, a road connecting the various installations along the line and surviving visibly for long stretches; the Vallum, an enigmatic and unique earthwork construction (added in about AD 124), and a counterscarp and glacis to the north of the Wall. The strong points consist of the forts (added in about AD 124), a milecastle every mile and two turrets, evenly spaced, to every mile. It has been assumed that this scheme was rigidly adhered to regardless of terrain and indeed this seems to be the case in many instances. A screen of forts, without the associated linear features, extends along the Cumbria coast thereby protecting the western flank of the Wall, and there are outpost forts to the north. Throughout its long history the frontier was not always well maintained but it remained in use until the late fourth century when a weak and divided Roman Empire finally withdrew its armies from Britain.

The Vallum lies to the south of the Wall and was added to the defensive system while construction of the Wall was still underway. It comprises a broad ditch, about 6m wide with steeply sloping sides, flanked by a pair of linear banks about 6m wide at the base, separated from the ditch by a wide berm to either side of about 9m, with frequent causeways. 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 purpose is considered to be that of defining the limit of the military zone and increasing control of movement across it as well as providing an additional layer of defence from attacks from the north. It also had a function in linking the forts along the Wall with a method of lateral communication, and a metalled track was therefore provided in places between the north mound and the ditch.


In 1994 and 2007 small excavations within the village of Burgh by Sands revealed the presence of the central broad ditch of the Vallum, thus confirming its location at the eastern end of this scheduled section. During the course of a geophysical survey in 2002, the very slight earthwork of a broad ditch was noted to the south of the currently scheduled area; this lay immediately north of and parallel to the modern road in fields between Vallum House and Dykesfield. An excavation at Dykesfield Farm in 2015 confirmed the location of the Vallum on the same alignment as the geophysical signals noted in 2002 and revealed the levelled top of the Vallum ditch to be at least 7.5m wide. It was therefore apparent that the Vallum's course westward from Burgh by Sands took a different alignment to the line that had been mapped by the Ordnance Survey and subsequently scheduled. Further confirmation of this came with a second archaeological evaluation within the scheduled line of the Vallum in 2015, which demonstrated that there were no relevant archaeological remains in that location. This was further confirmed by a watching brief in 2016, in a different part of the scheduled line of the Vallum, that concluded the area was ‘archaeologically sterile’. Subsequently, the Environment Agency’s Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data, a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth, was released in 2016; it clearly depicts the ditch of the Vallum on this new alignment and confirms that west of Burgh by Sands the Vallum lies about 40m south of the currently scheduled line.


PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS: the buried and slight earthwork remains of a section of the Vallum from West End, Burgh By Sands in the east to the eastern boundary of Dykesfield in the west.

DESCRIPTION: for much of its length in this section, the Vallum survives as a buried feature about 40m across. Its course and survival has been confirmed by small-scale excavation and a series of LiDAR images, the latter clearly showing the central ditch as an infilled, buried feature about 6m across; an archaeological evaluation in 2015 revealed the central ditch to be about 7.5m across. At two locations very slight surface remains are visible: to the west of West End a slight fold in the ground is considered to represent the Vallum ditch, and in woodland immediately to the east of Dykesfield surface traces of the north mound and the extremely slight indications of the Vallum ditch have been noted.

EXTENT OF PROTECTION: the scheduled area is divided into two parts and has been defined to enclose the full extent of nationally important remains judged to be most appropriately managed through the mechanism of scheduling. In order to ensure the adequate protection of the archaeological remains, a margin of 5m has been included on the north and south sides where possible. For management clarity, the south side of the westernmost scheduled area runs along the south side of the metalled road.

EXCLUSIONS: all field boundaries, road surfaces and telegraph poles are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath these features is included.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Collingwood Bruce, J, Breeze, D J, Handbook to the Roman Wall 14th Edition, (2006)
Austen, P S, 'Recent excavations on Hadrian’s Wall at Burgh-by-Sands' in Transactions Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, , Vol. 2 ser 94 , (1994), 35-54
Walker, J, 'Watching brief at 1 The Croft, Burgh-by-Sands, Cumbria’' in Transactions Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, , Vol. 3 ser 7, (2007), 216-219
Biggins, J A, Hall, S, Taylor, D, 'A geophysical survey of Milecastle 73 and Hadrian’s Wall at Burgh-by-Sands, Cumbria' in Transactions Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, , Vol. 3 ser 4, (2004), 55-70
Archaeological Watching Brief, Dykesfield House, Burgh By Sands Report 199, Carlisle, 27 July 2-16.
Suddaby, I. 2015 Dykesfield Farm, Burgh by Sands, Cumbria: Archaeological Evaluation (CFA Report No. 3316), Musselburgh. (Accessible online via Carlisle City Council Planning Applications, ref. 16/0446, associated documents.)

National Grid Reference: NY3148759090


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End of official listing