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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. There are some lay-bys, notably by Vindobala and at the pubs and farm cafes on the path.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Opens in new window)

On this section of the wall there are no staffed staffed sites. Information about the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail however can be accessed at (link opens in new window):

- Hadrian’s Wall Path: Official National Trail

Towards the end of this section the Vallum earthworks become prominent giving an impressive of the scale of the original earthwork..


Milecastle 14: Positioned a few hundred metres west of Rudchester:





Rudchester Fort (Vindobala)

55.0025N 1.8258W

NZ 1124067557

NE15 0JA

Milecastle 14

55.0034N 1.8320W

NZ 1084367662


Milecastle 15

55.0058N 1.8568W

NZ 0925567921


Milecastle 16

55.0094N 1.8798W

NZ 0778468324

NE15 0QE

Milecastle 17

55.0087N 1.9030W

NZ 0629968246


Milecastle 18

55.0099N 1.9267W

NZ 0478768372

NE18 0LL

Milecastle 19

55.0115N 1.9486W

NZ 0338568545

NE45 5PX

Milecastle 20

55.0129N 1.9723W

NZ 0186968706


Milecastle 21

55.0113N 1.9945W

NZ 0045268529


Milecastle 15: Positioned on the Military Road:

Milecastle 16: On the B6528 as you head towards Walbottle:

Milecastle 17: Situated by the hedgerow:

Milecastle 18: Situated near Vallum Farm:

Milecastle 19: At junction between Military Road/Unnamed Road:

Milecastle 20: Located near the houses of Halton Shields:

Milecastle 21: Where the Military Road deviates from the Wall:

Milecastle 21

Lat/Long:  55.0113N 1.9945W

Grid Ref:   NZ 0045268529

Postcode: N/A

Milecastle 20

Lat/Long:  55.0129N 1.9723W

Grid Ref:   NZ 0186968706

Postcode: N/A

Milecastle 19

Lat/Long:  55.0115N 1.9486W

Grid Ref:   NZ 0338568545

Postcode: NE45 5PX

Milecastle 18

Lat/Long:  55.0099N 1.9267W

Grid Ref:   NZ 0478768372

Postcode: NE18 0LL

Milecastle 17

Lat/Long:  55.0087N 1.9030W

Grid Ref:   NZ 0629968246

Postcode: N/A

Milecastle 16

Lat/Long:  55.0094N 1.8798W

Grid Ref:   NZ 0778468324

Postcode: NE15 0QE

Milecastle 15

Lat/Long:  55.0058N 1.8568W

Grid Ref:   NZ 0925567921

Postcode: N/A

Milecastle 14

Lat/Long:  55.0034N 1.8320W

Grid Ref:   NZ 1084367662

Postcode: N/A

Articles > Hadrian’s Wall HADRIAN’S WALL: THE REAL ROUTE Part 8: Rudchester to Halton Chesters

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 Rudchester to the site of the fifth fort on the line of the Wall at Halton Chesters. The route encompasses the locations of Milecastles 14 through to 21 and some features of the frontier start to become more regularly visible including the Vallum and Fighting Ditch. The Wall itself remains absent having been crushed and re-used in General Wade’s Carlisle to Newcastle road. The National Trail is synchronised almost entirely with this section of the route.


Rudchester Roman Fort

Rudchester Roman Fort was known as Vindobala and housed a combined infantry/cavalry force of around 600 men. This fort was allegedly well preserved until the eighteenth century when, the stones of the Wall not quite meeting their insatiable consumption, the builders of General Wade’s road robbed the stone to crush it and use it for the construction effort. The earthworks paint a fairly confusing picture not helped by the Military Road going right over the centre of the fort, but some explanation panels help to explain it. The fort was laid out in the normal Roman playing card shape with Headquarters in the centre surrounded by Commanding Officer’s house, granaries and barracks in each quadrant. Three of the  double gateways led north of the Wall enabling troops to deploy quickly. Rudchester fort seemingly took the brunt of the attack from the north in AD 180. Follow the National Trail footpath noting that the line of the Wall remains under the Military Road to your right.

Milecastle 14

Milecastle 14 sits at a slight bend on the road a couple of hundred metres after Vindobala fort. The National Trail footpath then swings off to avoid a field with no access - the Wall continued along the line of the road. Given the road is rural, bendy and with a national speed limit pedestrians are advised to follow the official trail!  

Milecastles 16 and 17

Milecastle 16 is located in the picturesque village of Harlow Hill. Virtually nothing remains - just a slight disturbance in the ground. Keep following the National Trail which itself continues to follow the Military Road on top of the line of the Wall. Head towards the Reservoir. Milecastle 17 was located on the slight hill climbing from the Reservoir but nothing remains.

Milecastle 15

Continue to follow the National Trail footpath, which switches sides of the road a few hundred metres from having re-joined it. Annoyingly the footpath now prevents you taking in the setting for Milecastle 15 as a hedgerow prevents visibility of the road and the south side where it was sited. To see the location clearly you either need to walk on the Military Road for a considerable distance (not recommended for the reasons cited earlier) or to be very tall!

Site of Vindobala Roman fort and line of Wall heading west

Looking east along line of Wall

Line of Wall heading east

Towards Harlow Hill

Keep following the National Trail which snakes along with Wade’s Military Road built firmly on the Wall’s crushed stone. The Fighting Ditch makes a few appearances.

Site of Milecastle 15

Line of Wall heading east

Line of Wall heading west

Line of Wall heading west near Milecastle 16

Milecastle 18

Continue walking along the National Trail running parallel with the Military Road. Milecastle 18, again nothing remains, was sighted near Vallum farm (which at time of writing offered refreshments to weary travellers from their small cafe)! Keep going noting the National Trail deviates briefly off the road (presumably for property rights/ease of access).At the junction with the unnamed road to Matfen you are at the site of Milecastle 19.

Site of Milecastle 19

Towards Halton Shields

Continue following the National Trail. It swaps to the left hand side of the road bringing the walker into contact with some fairly faint signs of the Vallum in heavily ploughed fields. The site of Milecastle 20 (nothing remains visual) is in the small hamlet of Halton Shields; the name giving the clue to the original presence of the gatehouse (shields implying shelter). Thereafter continue following the trail where you will arrive at more substantial earthwork remains of the Vallum. Always a significantly under-estimated part of the frontier defences it was a barrier larger than the Wall itself.

Milecastle 21

The Vallum remains lead to the site of Milecastle 21. Here the eighteenth century engineers, as well as the modern road builders, couldn’t quite follow where the Romans went and for a couple of hundred metres the Military deviates from the line of the Wall rather than the follow the crag on which the Romans built. Regrettably they still robbed the stone.

Line of Wall - looking west

Line of Wall - looking east

Halton Chesters

Keep following the National Trail towards Halton Chesters.

Site of Vindobala Roman fort

Line of Wall looking east

Line of Wall heading west

Line of Wall near Milecastle 17 position (looking west)

Fighting Ditch

Fighting Ditch

Fighting Ditch

Fighting Ditch

Vallum - Line of Wall to left under road

Traces of the Vallum

Vallum earthworks

The Vallum

Towards Halton Chesters Fort


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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