Wall Mile 33

Wall Mile 33 [HB 225–6]

The landscape now takes on a more gentle aspect for the walker. We are also soon going to encounter the Military Road again after a long interval and it will be a close companion until we reach Newcastle. Meanwhile, the remains of the curtain wall are visible as a low mound with occasional blocks of stone poking out. Treat it gently and tread carefully. It continues like this until we reach the remains of Turret 33b (Coesike).

Ditch at Milecastle 34 and Wall Mile 33

Ditch at Milecastle 34 and Wall Mile 33

Another of the short-lived turrets, with broad gauge footings cut away by the narrow gauge wall. Once again, the recess-filling wall is present, albeit not of the best quality workmanship, probably to enable a wall walk to cross it safely. The doorway still retains its blocking, so the turret was evidently not completely reduced upon abandonment.

Turret 34b

Turret 34b

To the south of us, the Military Road emerges from a softwood plantation to swoop across the Vallum and now keep pace with us, although still not actually on the curtain wall. We cross from walking behind the wall to walking along the berm and a field wall now sits just to the south of the curtain wall’s remains, beginning a gentle climb up towards Carraw Farm.

The Military Road crossing the Vallum

The Military Road crossing the Vallum

We proceed in this fashion until we come to Milecastle 33 (Shield-on-the-Wall), the side walls of which we have to cross, as the curtain wall is to our left and the field wall to our right.

Milecastle 33 (Shield-on-the-Wall) [HB 225; haiku]

Looking towards Milecastle 33

Looking towards Milecastle 33

The north gate and parts of the side walls of this long-axis milecastle are still exposed, perhaps a bit too much for those who worry about potential damage to the monument. One interesting detail to note is how excavation has changed its flora and made it stand out. Excavated in 1935–6, it usually shows as a patch of bracken, with an old spoil heap standing proud at its south-east corner (it is not generally thought good practice for archaeologists to leave their spoil heaps lying around, but it sometimes happens).

The north gate of Milecastle 33

The north gate of Milecastle 33

CGHad

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