Hadrian’s Wall Exploration 10 – Housesteads

Although I ended a walk at Housesteads and started a walk at Housesteads, I did not manage to find time for a proper walk round the fort and the museum. Here are some old photos, some taken on a visit with Gareth in 2013. It is an English Heritage managed site and National Trust members get in free as well. As I am a Life Member of both EH and NT I think they should pay me to visit. It should be noted that it is a steep uphill walk from the car park, which is on the Military Road, though the disabled can drive up to the museum.

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As you walk up, you pass through the Vicus and cultivation terraces. The fort itself is aligned east/west, on the north side is a steep drop, and the south side of the wall is hardly flat either. Here is a model.

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There are some statues and altars in the museum at Chesters, more in the Great North Museum in Newcastle – both blogged. This museum has the relief of three deities, the Genii Cucullati, each wearing a long, hooded cloak, the birrus Britannicus, found in a temple at the civil settlement.

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Vercovicium means “hilly place” or “place of the effective fighters” – I go for the first. The Wall was built first, along with a turret, the fort is slightly later. It covers an area of about 5 acres. We know that in the third century a thousand men of the First Cohort of Tungrians were stationed here, and various other legions also left their mark. I won’t try and work out every bit of the fort.

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Here are a couple of the rather impressive gates.


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9 - june c 04810 - june c 04911 - june c 047There are a couple of granaries, with the floor raised on pillars to ensure decent ventilation. Once you’ve dragged the grain up to Housesteads, you would hardly want it to go rotten!

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 The room which always fascinates the youngsters, and I remember being fascinated by it several decades ago, is the toilet block.

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There are lots of lovely walls at this fort, and the Wall itself. Have an explore, and let the cobwebs be blown away.

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