Wall Mile 18

Wall Mile 18 [HB 174–5]

Now we dive into the next section of fenced-off Trail which actually takes us along the bottom of the ditch again (watch out for chickens) before we are spat out again onto the verge of the Military Road, traffic roaring past at 60mph (care is advised, naturally). After a short distance, we reach a Millennium Bridge (there are quite a lot of them) which actually takes us over the ditch.

We have returned to the north lip of the ditch again for the next stint, then we cross a road, and then have more of that ditch lip. Incidentally, at the road crossing, the Vallum is visible as an earthwork in the distance to the south (you don’t need to cross the road to see it); it is, after all, what earned Vallum Farm its name.

The north lip of the ditch west of the Millennium Bridge

The north lip of the ditch west of the road junction

Continuing along the north lip of the ditch, we soon have a detour to negotiate, leading us to the north of Wall Houses farm. Back to the north lip of the ditch once more for the next section.You can’t tell it here, but later on we shall be able to see how this northern extremity of the Wall system was in fact enhanced by the ditch-diggers. Sadly, time and the plough have removed any trace of the upcast mount (or counterscarp) around here.

Finally we reach a junction framed by large stone piers and here, on the south side of the road, is the location of Milecastle 19.

The north lip of the ditch just east of the Wall Houses detour

The north lip of the ditch just east of the Wall Houses detour

Milecastle 19 (Matfen Piers) [HB 175–6; haiku]

This short-axis milecastle, located opposite the eponymous estate-guarding piers on the north side of the road, has been examined in 1932 and 1999. An altar to the Matres (or mother goddesses) was found, dedicated by cohors I Vardullorum, who we know were at Corbridge during the mid-2nd century AD.

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