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South Shields Roman Fort (Arbeia)

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Although not connected to the wall any tourist viewing all or part of Hadrian’s Wall should start here. A reconstructed Gatehouse, Barrack Blocks and a Commanding Officer’s House will explain much of what will be seen in ruins or earthworks later.

ARTICLE CONTENTS:


SECTION 1: Introduction

- Visiting Rome’s Northern Frontier

- Components of the Frontier


SECTION 2: History of the Wall

- Empire Without Limits

- A Frontier - but Where?

- Holding the Line


SECTION 3: The Wall east to west as it exists today

- South Shields to Benwell Hill (including Newcastle)

- Benwell Hill to Rudchester (including Heddon-on-the-Wall)

- Rudchester to Halton Chesters

- Halton Chesters to Chesters

- Chesters to Carrawburgh

- Carrawburgh to Housesteads

- Housesteads to Great Chesters (including Steel Rigg and Cawfields)

- Great Chesters to Birdoswald (including Walltown)

- Birdoswald to Castlesteads

- Castlesteads to Stanwix

- Stanwix to Burgh-by-Sands (including Carlisle)

- Burgh-by-Sands to Bowness-on-Solway

- Western Sea Defences

TRAVEL AND PARKING

The entire length of this walk is in a busy urban area. Parking is available in all areas albeit those closer to the Newcastle City Centre tend to be pay and display. Onroad parking available in areas on West Road.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Opens in new window)

On this section of the wall there are two staffed sites. Click the links below for more information (links open in new window):

- Arbeia Roman Fort

- Segedunum Roman Fort

The reconstructed Bath House at Segedunum is a must see in this section: it is modelled on the design at Chesters.

MILECASTLES

Milecastle 1: Estimated position around Union Street:

GETTING THERE


LAT/LONG

OS GRID REF

POSTCODE

South Shields (ARBEIA)

55.0045N 1.4315W

NZ 3646167918

NE33 2BB

Wallsend (SEGEDUNUM)


54.9881N 1.5323W

NZ 3002666045

NE28 6HR

Milecastle 1

(Est Pos)

54.9869N 1.5365W

NZ 2975865910

NE28 6BW

Milecastle 2

(Est Pos)

54.9809N 1.5626W

NZ 2809265229

NE6 4QR

Milecastle 3

(Est Pos)

54.9759N 1.5891W

NZ 2639964665

NE6 1JX

Milecastle 4

(St Johns)

54.9699N 1.6162W

NZ 2466863987

NE1 5SG

Milecastle 5

(Est Pos)

54.9717N 1.6295W

NZ 2381664183

NE4 5QU

Milecastle 6

(Est Pos)

54.9756N 1.6534W

NZ 2228464609

NE4 9PT

Milecastle 2: Estimated position around Fosse Way / Roman Ave:

Milecastle 3: Estimated position around Byker Bridge:

Milecastle 4: Originally at A186 / Grainger St:

Milecastle 5: Estimated position around Westgate Rd / Elswick Rd:

Milecastle 6: Estimated position around West Rd/Hampstead Rd:

Milecastle 5


Lat/Long:  54.9717N 1.6295W

Grid Ref:   NZ 2381664183

Postcode: NE4 5QU

Milecastle 4 - St Johns


Lat/Long:  54.9699N 1.6162W

Grid Ref:   NZ 2466863987

Postcode: NE1 5SG

Milecastle 3


Lat/Long:  54.9759N 1.5891W

Grid Ref:   NZ 2639964665

Postcode: NE6 1JX

Milecastle 2


Lat/Long:  54.9809N 1.5626W

Grid Ref:   NZ 2809265229

Postcode: NE6 4QR

Milecastle 1


Lat/Long:  54.9869N 1.5365W

Grid Ref:   NZ 2975865910

Postcode: NE28 6BW

Articles > Hadrian’s Wall HADRIAN’S WALL: THE REAL ROUTE Part 6: South Shields to Benwell Hill (including Wallsend and central Newcastle)

Key: BLUE MARKER = Fort Location    RED MARKER = Known Milecastle/Milefort Location    GREEN MARKER = Point of Interest

THE WALL EAST TO WEST: SOUTH SHIELDS TO BENWELL HILL


What Can Be Seen


This article takes you from South Shields through to the third Roman fort on the wall at Benwell Hill. For the most part the National Trail avoids this section as, after the two forts, no wall can be seen and it follows an urban path.


CONTINUE TO BENWELL HILL >


Heading West


The first traces of the Wall outside of Segedunum can be found just moments after leaving the fort. Crossing Buddle St (A187) a small enclosure has a reconstructed segment of the wall (see above). Directly in front are the foundations of the real wall which can be seen diverging from Buddle Street before being buried again under Praetonian Drive and the housing estate that parallels Neptune Road. The closest line you can take to the Wall is along Eastfield Avenue, left onto Stotts Road, left onto Vauxhall Road, left onto Courtfield Road then right onto Fossway A187. No elements of the wall are visible at any stage since it was lost at Segedunum.


Fossway


Follow Fossway to the roundabout then move onto Shields Road. The wall now follows the course of this road starting its decent to the waterfront. In the vicinity of modern day Byker Bridge the Wall swung left and proceeded in a straight line to the site of the current Tyne Bridge and the Medieval Castle. There is no modern road that allows you to follow the line of the Wall, it being firmly buried under the modern structures, so weave the through the city until you get to Queen's Street and continue through to Castle Garth (in direct proximity to the medieval Castle Keep).


The Wall Starts


Although originally planned to start at Newcastle, the Wall was quickly extended here to Wallsend - the reason is unknown but perhaps the eastern Tyne proved a little too porous. The Wall started at the low water mark in the River Tyne and was possibly marked by an elaborate statute of Hadrian. It proceeded inshore to connect with Segedunum Roman Fort connecting at the South East Corner turret. The first surviving segment of the wall is visible (see picture above article) from the fort as it intersects with the ruins.


Roman Fort (Pons Aelius)


Other than a few unearthed frgaments, nothing remains of the Roman Fort at Pons Aelius as it was obliterated by the Medieval construction. This was the original starting point for the wall however, chosen due to the bridging point over the River Tyne. Enjoy the medieval Newcastle Castle and then proceed onto the A186 and head towards the Railway Station which will take you to Westgate Road.


Westgate Road


At the junction between Westgate Road, the A186 and Neville Street you will see a monument (Stephenson) directly ahead. Look to your left and you will see some railings behind which are some faded red paving slabs (see above). As a plaque on the wall informs you this marks the discovery of a segment of wall. Now proceed along Westgate Road. The line of the Wall follows this road until it ends at a roundabout.


Milecastle 4 (Site of…)


Continue walking along Westgate Road. On your left you will see St John’s church. This is the confirmed site of Milecastle 4. Keep heading along Westgate Road which eventually morphs into West Street. The wall ran in a straight line here directly under the road although no trace can be seen; merely the odd hint on roads signs or road names. Keep going until you get to a petrol station on your left and the Newcastle City Learning centre on your right. Then keep an eye out for the next left which will be Weidner Road.

Reconstructed Wall segment at Segedunum at Wallsend

Line of Wall towards Newcastle

Medieval castle - site of Pons Aelius

Fragment of Wall discovered here -marked by red stones

Site of Milecastle 4

Milecastle 6


Lat/Long:  54.9756N 1.6534W

Grid Ref:   NZ 2228464609

Postcode: NE4 9PT

Segment of Wall - looking back to Segedunum

Wall is buried almost immediately under modern housing

Wallsend Roman Fort (Segedunum)

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This was the first fort on the line of the wall. Today the site sports a museum and viewing tower enabling you to appreciate the layout of Roman forts. A reconstructed Bath House (modelled on Chesters) is also visble.

Wall from Tyne low-tide point to Segedunum fort

Wallsend Fort - Segedunum

REFERENCES / FURTHER READING

Breeze, D.J (2011). The Frontiers of Imperial Rome. Pen and Sword Books Ltd, Barnsley.


Burton, A (2010). Hadrian's Wall Path. Aurum Press Ltd, London.


Crow, J (1989). Housesteads Roman Fort. English Heritage, London.


English Heritage (2010). An Archaeological Map of Hadrian's Wall, 1:25,000 Scale. English Heritage, London.


Hodgson, N (2011). Chesters Roman Fort. English Heritage, London.


Moffat, A (2009). The Wall. Birlinn Ltd, Edinburgh.


Wilmott, T (2010). Birdoswald Roman Fort. English Heritage, London.


Bedoyere, G (2010). Roman Britain: A New History. Thames and Hudson Ltd, London.


Dando-Collins, S (2010). Legions of Rome. Quercus, London.


Hobbs, R and Jackson, R (2010). Roman Britain. British Museum Company Ltd, London.

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