The Roman defences along the border with Scotland started in c.AD80 with the building of Stanegate Road from Carlisle to Corbridge. Along this road 7 wooden forts were built including Carlisle, Vindolanda and Corbridge Forts. These were not as effective as had been expected so from AD122 a wall was built from Bowness in the west to Wallsend in the east on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian.
The wall was 80 Roman miles in length (73 miles) and followed a strict pattern of a 60 feet square milecastle or small fort every mile and two 20 feet square turrets or gateways in between each milecastle. From Bowness to Birdoswald the wall was made of turf, 20 feet thick and 15 feet high with wooden forts but with the turrets made of stone. The eastern half was constructed of stone, 8 to 10 feet thick with a deep V-shaped ditch at the front and a second, flat bottomed ditch or vallum with a rampart each side at the rear. The milecastles and turrets continued for a further 40 miles down the Cumbrian coast, but without a wall.
It took until AD160 to complete this massive construction work including rebuilding the turf wall in stone. Initially it was manned from the Stanegate Road Forts, but these were not sufficently close so 17 new stone forts were built into the wall between AD128 and 138. Two of the older forts, Corbridge and Vindolanda were rebuilt in stone as additional support.
The foundations of some of these forts have been excavated and can be visited, the most interesting sites being Vindolanda, Houseteads, Chesters and Corbridge. Sections of the stone walls still stand, particularly near Housesteads, although most of the stone has been removed for local houses and churches.
Most of the sites are managed by English Heritage
The foundations of Denton Hall Turret and a 65-metre length of Hadrian's Wall lie beside the A69 near the junction with the A1. In Turret Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE15 7TH
Heddon-on-the-Wall has a consolidated stretch of Wall, up to two metres thick in places and was probably completed in AD 122. The wall at Heddon was exposed in the 1930s. Heddon-on-the-Wall, Throckley NE15 0BQ
Brunton Turret is just across the river to the east of Chesters Fort. Black Carts Turret is a mile to the west.
Cawfields Milecastle 42 is a mile and a half north of Haltwistle.
Walltown Crags is a mile north east of Greenhead, off the B6318. It is a very impressive section of Hadrian's Wall with panoramic views and Turret 45A is on top of the hill. The Roman museum at Carvoran Fort is nearby.
Poltross Burn Milecastle 48 is just outside the village of Gilsland and is manged by English Heritage. It is larger than many other milecastles, measuring 65 by 60 feet, and is one of the best-preserved on Hadrian's Wall. Part of the flight of stairs that once led on to the ramparts of Hadrian's Wall can be seen. There are the remains of barracks which indicate the fort was manned by 64 soldiers.
Pipe Sike Turrets 51A & 51B
Pike Hill Signal Tower was one of a number of signal stations that were built during the early 2nd century and was later incorporated into Hadrian's Wall. The tower is located between Turret 51B and Turret 52A with the fort of Banna located to the east.
Banks East Turret 52A