Hadrian’s Wall stretches 73 miles, coast to coast, from Wallsend on the River Tyne in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west. Built on the orders of the emperor Hadrian in AD 122, the wall was constructed to protect the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire. It is one of the best remaining examples of Roman military engineering.
The majority of the Wall, running forty-five miles from the east, was built of stone with the remaining section in the west being constructed of turf. The stone used to build the Wall was quarried locally; Roman stonemasons left inscriptions in the stones which describe the location of these quarries.
All the building was done by the Roman soldiers themselves from the three legions of regular, trained troops in Britain, each consisting of about 5,000 heavily armed infantrymen. They were trained to do this and the army had its own skilled engineers who designed the wall. That so much of the Wall has survived is a testament to their building skills. Extra man-power may have been provided by soldiers from auxiliary regiments recruited from allied and conquered tribes who supported the legions in battle and garrisoned the frontier forts.
Hadrian’s Wall was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.