Hadrian's Wall as it climbs over dolerite cliffs near Crag Lough, Northumbria.

Hadrian's Wall, the famous border fortification begun by the Romans in 122 AD and finally abandoned in 383 AD, traverses England from the Solway Firth in the west to the River Tyne in the east, and is punctuated by the ruins of "milecastles" and forts. This scene in the open countryside occurs in the Northumbrian part of the wall — about its midpoint — after it has already passed through Cumbria in the west. The section between Crag Lough and Steel Rig (see below, left) is one of the most popular and scenic lengths of the wall for walkers.

Lovely trekking country. Left: Walking beside the turf-topped wall (on the right), from Steel Rigg car-park. Right: East of Thirlwall Castle, about twenty miles west of Hexham (this photograph © Colin Price).

Hadrian's Wall has a special relevance to Victorian studies because a Victorian, John Collingwood Bruce (1805-92), the proprietor of a school in a Newcastle and a keen antiquary, first drew the general public's attention to the importance of these remains by putting together the various findings about it in The Roman Wall (1851) and The Wallet Book of the Roman Wall (1861). Collingwood began the fashion for making pilgrimages to the wall, and walking or cycling the length of the wall are both popular pursuits now, for the countryside along it, not far south of the modern border with Scotland, is very beautiful.

Traces of Castle Nick milecastle (attributed to the Sixth Legion), east of Steel Rigg, Northumberland (this photograph too © Colin Price).

Photographs, unless otherwise specified, commentary and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. Some caption material by Colin Price. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you credit the photographer and link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.]

An atmospheric view of Hadrian's Wall near Birdoswald, Cumbria, on a misty morning in early spring.

Related Material


Bruce, John Collingwood. The Roman Wall: A Description of the Murtal Barrier of the North of England. 3rd ed. London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1867.

"Hadrian's Wall." English Heritage. Web. 19 July 2019.

Last modified 19 July 2019; thanks to Frank Moran for correcting a geographical error and to Colin Price for contributing extra photographs.