Hadrian’s Wall is a Roman wall built by the Emperor Hadrian around AD122. The wall stretched almost 73 miles coast to coast from Carlisle in the west to Wallsend in the east. The average height of the wall was 15 feet and it varied from eight to ten feet in width. The main purpose of the wall was to provide protection for the Roman troops against the tribes who lived north of the wall.
The wall was built of stone and every Roman mile along it there was a milecastle. This is a fortified gateway which allowed Roman soldiers to pass through on patrol to the north of Hadrian’s Wall and to be able to control the passage of others through the Wall. As well as the milecastles there were 16 forts along the wall, providing barracks for the soldiers.
Today parts of the wall can be found for about 73 miles. Some of these parts have become stone fences, stone barns and the cobbles which are found in stable courtyards.
There are extensive excavations at Vindolanda, a fort and village on Hadrian's Wall. These provide a way of discovering a little about the day to day existence of a Roman legion at the edge of the empire. Exhibitions at Vindolanda and the nearby Roman Army Museum include displays of artefacts from the forts, many of them personal items such as letters home asking for warm clothing and socks.