Wall Mile 75

Wall Mile 75 [HB 358]

Wall Miles 75 to 73 are problematical.

The Wall probably crossed Burgh Marsh, more or less directly between Milecastles 76 and 73, but antiquarians and archaeologists alike have puzzled over this stretch. Nothing of the curtain wall or its associated components has ever been found and some writers have suggested it never existed in this area (an approach adopted by the English Heritage Archaeological Map of the Wall, with its unapologetic gap) but this makes no sense strategically or tactically and begs the question of why the Cumbrian Coast defences should have been constructed if the Roman military were happy to leave a big inviting hole in their frontier. After all, anybody who could cross an estuary could cross a marsh (as Edward I was intending to do before he met his timely – or untimely, according to your point of view – death). Moreover, the Romans were quite capable of building across marshy areas, as numerous ‘floating’ roads demonstrate (a fine example exists in Britain crossing the floodplain of the River Idle near Bawtry in Nottinghamshire). It may have been destroyed by the Solway, but it is equally possible it will one day be found.

Wall Mile 75We may now continue a pleasant walk along the side of the road towards Burgh-by-Sands (another ‘bruff’). Alternatively, you may choose to enjoy a slightly more elevated vantage point by walking on top of the levee (thereby avoiding the traffic on the road which ranges from the sedate to the lunatic), although rumour has it that that can disturb the local bird population, but it is up to you. Incidentally, the combination of the levee and the old railway course is one of the most striking landscape features from the air and at least one documentary film crew has mistaken it for the course of the Wall or Vallum.

As we leave Drumburgh, the old railway is to our right (the site of the station hardstanding can still be made out beyond the levee) and off in the marshes to the left is a giant concrete arrow, a hint for confused pilots from the days when the Solway Firth was a military range.

Milecastle 75 (Easton) [HB 358; haiku]

It need hardly be added that Milecastle 75 (Easton) has not been found.

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