Wall Mile 34

Wall Mile 34 [HB 227–8]

About 50m east of Milecastle 35, there is a small stone box next to the south face of the curtain wall. This is the remains of a cist burial, presumed to date to the post-Roman period. The curtain wall along here is very obviously narrow gauge on broad foundations (some of which were of whin) and, noting a narrow cleft which William Hutton was told was a tunnel dug by adventurous Picts in order to sneak under the curtain wall, we follow it until we reach the plantation around Sewing Shields farm. Emerging on the far side, it is now clear that we are nearing the end of the crags. We have another turret to inspect before we get too carried away, Turret 34a (the site of 34b was in the plantation).

The curtain wall and cist

The curtain wall and cist

Turret 34a (Grindon West) was furnished with exceedingly small wing walls and this was another of those turrets which was only occupied in the 2nd century and, after abandonment, had its northern recess filled in. In the doorway, the curious will note the settings for the stone jambs of the door as well as the socket for the door pivot on the east side.

Turret 34a

Turret 34a

To our north are the earthworks that are all that remains of Sewingshields Castle, still visible from the air, but our principal concern is the proximity of the next milecastle, marked by a walled plantation on top of it. As we reach it, we note that the ditch has rejoined us to the north, since the crags are now behind us and a man-made obstacle is once more needed.

Milecastle 34 (Grindon) [HB 227; haiku]

Site of Milecastle 34

Site of Milecastle 34

Although the position of Milecastle 34 (Grindon) is conveniently marked by the plantation, there is nothing to see of the milecastle itself, beyond an information panel, but it makes a fine observation point from which to observe the ditch in either direction.

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