Wall Mile 10 [HB 164–5]
As we continue down the hill through Throckley, passing the old reservoir, the berm pits continue beneath the road. Our environment is still suburban but housing is beginning to crowd us in. Here the survival of Hadrian’s wall is always on a knife edge, the remains sparse and frequently heavily damaged when excavated. But it is still there and boldly continues to exert its influence on the landscape as we make for the terminus.
The Military Road is soon interrupted by a roundabout at the point where a major drove road from Scotland to England crossed it. Long used for taking stock south and across the Tyne by the ford at Newburn, in 1640 it saw a Scottish Covenanter army use it, leading to a skirmish by the river which became known as the Battle of Newburn (although it was less of a ‘battle’ and more of a ‘flight’ on the part of the English royalist forces). Was there another transhumance gateway through Hadrian’s Wall here? We don’t know, but such drove roads tend to be old.
All the time we have kept to the north pavement, but soon it will be best to change sides to the south. After the roundabout, the Wall plunges down into Walbottle Dene (known in Hutton’s day as Newburn Dene) before ascending again to the location of Milecastle 10, on its eastern rim. The bottom of the Dene is a good place to cross as the traffic is warned by signs and rumble strips that pedestrians will be doing just that; nevertheless, take care. Although the curtain wall usually seems to have been beneath the southern (westbound) carriageway of the 18th-century road, at this point the builders chose to swing slightly southwards and the road passes straight through the middle of Milecastle 10 (Walbottle Dene).
Milecastle 10 (Walbottle Dene) [HB 164; haiku]
The deviation in the course of the Military Road means the north gate of the milecastle survived and was duly excavated in 1928. The southern wall was examined in 1999–2001, revealing the milecastle to be of the long axis type. There is, as you might have guessed, nothing to see any more.