Wall Mile 65 [HB 340]
As we climb the hill from the modern bridge over the Eden (probably itself on the site of a Roman road bridge), we fork right along the B6264 Brampton Road and can reflect upon the fact that this junction represents the western end of the 18th-century Military Road which we shall be encountering again later and about which there is much more to be said.
Around 200m along the road we can cross over using the pedestrian crossing and enter the churchyard where a piece of signage provides some details about the fort of Stanwix, which is appropriate, since we are now standing next to the south-west corner of it.
Stanwix fort (VXELODVNVM)
Stanwix fort lies north of the Eden and, with around 800 troopers, was the base of the largest cavalry unit on the Wall (and, indeed, in Britain), the milliary (literally ‘1000-strong’) ala Augusta Gallorum Petriana. Not much is known about the site, since it is situated under one of the suburbs of Carlisle. It covers 3.27ha (9.32 acres) and appears to have had both turf-and-timber and stone phases, the former built after Hadrian’s Wall had been constructed in stone here, and is located 8.9km (5.5 miles) from Burgh by Sands. There is not much for the visitor to see, but enough to make it worth the effort.
A sign in the churchyard tells us that the south corner and its corner tower were located there. Continuing up the path, past the church (built of Roman stone, naturally), we turn right onto Church Street, then take the second left onto Knowe Terrace, then left again onto Mulcaster Crescent. Before the end of the street we see the car park entrance to the Cumbria Park Hotel. In the far left corner of the car park, part of the course of the fort north wall has been marked out and an explanatory plaque provided. Now might be an opportune moment to revive yourself with the beverage of your choice in the hotel before heading off along the Wall again.
Retracing our steps along Mulcaster Crescent and Knowe Terrace, we must now turn left along Kell’s Place and then, as it begins to bend round to the right, take the left-hand road (Tarraby Lane) past the back of the University of Cumbria, on our right, and head for the trees ahead, in the distance. As we reach a sign labelling Beech Grove you will note that a footpath carries straight on. This, as if you had not already guessed, is the line of the curtain wall, the ditch being virtually completely ploughed out in the field to our left. The path leads us up to a course realignment on the crest of a hill then drops down again to cross a stream, before climbing again gently towards Tarraby, the hedgeline on our right marking the course of the curtain wall. On the way, we shall pass the site of Milecastle 65.
Milecastle 65 (Tarraby) [HB 340; haiku]
Milecastle 65 (Tarraby) has been located by geophysical survey and one of its walls confirmed by excavation but nothing remains to be seen above ground. An altar of Cocidius allegedly comes from near here. This is not the last time we shall encounter this pre-Roman hunting god who came to be identified with the war and hunting god Mars and the woodland deity Sylvanus.