Wall Mile 1 [HB 141]
Walking westwards from Milecastle 1 for another 475m, we reach another roundabout, at the junction with Coutts Road and West Farm Road. At this point, the modern road joins the line of the curtain wall and ditch, indicated by a slight change in the road’s course towards the south. The Fossway continues on this alignment for some 650m to the proposed site of Milecastle 2.
Now the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail is surely all about walking through beautiful countryside and enjoying the view, and it does not actually join the route of the Wall until near Milecastle 12. So why should we prefer this route? The simple answer is that this is indeed the course of the Wall and if we are going to walk it, we might as well walk the actual line. The more complex answer is that it allows us to witness how comprehensively this abandoned Roman frontier has influenced the infrastructure, town planning, and even development of this area from the early medieval period onwards. Hadrian’s Wall is arguably as relevant today in urban Newcastle as it is in rural Northumberland, albeit for different reasons.
However, since we have just walked a section where the course of the Wall seems to be ignored by modern development, you may question the validity of this observation. If we look at 19th-century maps, on the other hand, before the area was built up, we can clearly see how even this wayward length was actually dictating field boundaries west of Wallsend.
Milecastle 2 (Walker) [HB 141; haiku]
Like its neighbour, Milecastle 2 has never been found. It too was marked as being further to the east on older Ordnance Survey maps, near The Fosse pub. Its current suggested location has been worked out by measuring back from the likely location of Milecastle 3.