Roman Emperor Hadrian established a system of walls around the then extensive Roman Empire. Pulling back (south) from the land of the Picts, he established a border that ran 73 miles across Britain.
Originally a wall with small garrisons every mile or so, the best remaining mile castle is at Swarthy Hill, sitting on a small hill, it has clear views across to Scotland.
The main frontier was a ditch to the north, then a wall, then another ditch with two raised mounds on either side to the south of the wall. One of the crossing points, complete with gateway, is preserved to the south of the fort, at Benwell in the western suburbs of Newcastle.
Among the most visible remaining infantry forts can be found at the eastern end of the wall while two well preserved mile castles remain in this area at Castle Nick.
The original frontier was based on a road which ran south of the wall and was guarded by a series if forts, the beds preserved,of which is Vindolanda. This fort has also yielded significant materials and archives of the Roman unit stationed here.
A small temple dedicated to the god Mithras, popular on the Roman frontiers and perhaps originating as far eastern as today’s Iran.