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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


The bulk of this length of this walk is in a rural area walking on grass/non-vehicular footpaths. There are dedicated pay and displays cars parks at Chesters and Carrowburgh.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Opens in new window)

On this section of the wall there is one staffed site. Click the links below for more information (links open in new window):

- Housesteads Roman Fort

- Hadrian’s Wall Path: Official National Trail

A grave was built into the line of the Wall. Perhaps someone who died during construction or due to fighting?


Milecastle 32: Not visible from the National Trail:





Carrawburgh Roman Fort (Brocolitia)

55.0352N 2.2219W

NY 8591271213


Milecastle 32

55.0332N 2.2429W

NY 8457170996


Milecastle 33

55.0309N 2.2662W

NY 8308170741


Turret 33B

55.0291N 2.2811W

NY 8212970551


Milecastle 34

55.0288N 2.2878W

NY 8170170510


Milecastle 35


55.0288N 2.2878W

NY 8170170510


Turret 35A

55.0248N 2.3130W

NY 8008370078


Milecastle 36

55.0179N 2.3186W

NY 7972669314


Milecastle 33:

Milecastle 34:

Milecastle 35:

RELATED SITES NEARBY (Opens in new window)

Milecastle 36:

Milecastle 36

Lat/Long:  55.0179N 2.3186W

Grid Ref:   NY 7972669314

Postcode: N/A

Milecastle 35 - Sewingshields

Lat/Long:  55.0288N 2.2878W

Grid Ref:   NY 8170170510

Postcode: N/A

Milecastle 34

Lat/Long:  55.0288N 2.2878W

Grid Ref:   NY 8170170510

Postcode: N/A

Milecastle 33

Lat/Long:  55.0309N 2.2662W

Grid Ref:   NY 8308170741

Postcode: N/A

Milecastle 32

Lat/Long:  55.0332N 2.2429W

Grid Ref:   NY 8457170996

Postcode: N/A

Articles > Hadrian’s Wall HADRIAN’S WALL: THE REAL ROUTE Part 11: Carrowburgh to Housesteads

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


What Can Be Seen

This article takes you from Carrawburgh to Housesteads as the Wall aligns with the route of the Whin Sill. This is the heart of the ‘tourist’ section with all the components of the frontier visible at various stages including the most easterly stone remains of a Milecastle (35). This section covers Milecastles 32 to 36 and takes you to Housestead Roman Fort (eighth fort on the Wall). The National Trail follows the line of the Wall exactly at this stage.


Carrowburgh Roman Fort

The fort at Carrawburgh, known to the Romans as Brocolitia, was a late addition. The decision to move the garrison forts from the Stanegate to the line of the Wall was made relatively early on in the construction process and the Vallum, which was added shortly after the forts were completed, took them into account allowing sufficient space inside the military zone. Not so at Brocolitia where the fort was built over the Vallum. The fort was also unusual for not straddling the Wall; instead it was built entirely to the south. The reason for its construction is unknown although it is clear that Chesters and Housesteads were probably a little too far apart; especially as the latter was an infantry only unit. Take your time to explore the earthworks then the nearby Mithras Temple that served the garrison. From there follow the National Trail across the road and off to the west.

Mithras Temple at Brocolitia Roman Fort

Milecastle 32

The National Trail now spends sometime walking on a very pleasant path adjacent and to the north of Fighting Wall. This is excellent (and safe) but does mean the site of Milecastle 32 and some impressive stretches of Vallum are missed.

Fighting Ditch

Line of Wall heading west - Wall under road

Towards Sewingshields

Keep following the National Trail (if you took the road route backtrack a few hundred metres to a gate to re-join the official path). You will pass the site of Milecastle 33 (now just a few re-rolled masonry fragments) and Turret 33B. You’ll also see some impressive sections of Vallum across the road. Unfortunately these can’t be accessed from the National Trail. About half a mile later the road once again abandons the Wall and returns to the Vallum.


After passing through Sewingshields wood, you now start to witness some very impressive vistas and can appreciate the perfect geography the Whin Sill offers for a north facing barrier. Milecastle 35 greets you almost immediately and, after the at best mere traces and hints of the original structure found in more easterly Milecastles, this one has complete foundations. Beyond Turret 35A also awaits. Keeping following the National Trail right through to Housesteads.

Looking west along the Whin Sill

Site of Milecastle 32

Fighting Ditch (near) and Vallum (far)

Line of Wall heading west

Fighting Ditch - looking west

Looking east

Vallum separates to follow low ground

Site of Milecastle 33

Housesteads Fort

Wander up to Housesteads fort, the ground to the left of the fort is the easiest.

Vallum (left) and line of Wall (under road)

Llooking back east at Brocolitia fort

Line of Wall - looking west

Milecastle 35 - Sewingshields

Heading west towards Housesteads

Brocolitia Roman Fort

Turret 33B

Towards Sewingshields

Fighting Ditch - looking east

Towards Milecastle 35 position

Turret 35A


Knag Burn Gate

With Housesteads now clearly in view, the next destination is obvious. But before you head to the fort, note the breach in the Wall before it reaches the parapets. This is Knag Burn gate and, along with Port Gate on Dere Street and a gate at Carlisle, was a rare non-military gate presumably added to support local trade routes.

Knag Burn Gate

Knag Burn Gate


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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