Wall Mile 19 [HB 175–7]
Time to remind ourselves that the curtain wall is now to the north of us, beneath the southern carriageway of the Military Road; the ditch is beyond the road, amongst the trees; and the Vallum is sneaking across the fields to our south. To our left, the Vallum is a very shallow (almost imperceptible) ripple in the arable fields, still visible from the air, but nigh on vanished at ground level. This then, more or less sums up the rest of this stretch. Enjoy it, as it is shielded from the road by vegetation and, on a nice day, one of the most pleasant stretches of the wall walk and usually a good place to see butterflies.
After a long stretch we have to cross a rather flamboyant stile and then a side road. We have a short trudge along the southern pavement before we need to negotiate crossing the Military Road again (this crossing and re-crossing can become a bit tedious, quite apart from being life-threatening, and we are not finished with it yet, so exercise all due caution). Once on the northern side of the road, we can see the ditch again to the east of us. Noting that, we now carry on along the northern pavement for a short way until we arrive at the hamlet of Halton Shields and the site of Milecastle 20. Yes, folks, we are one quarter of the way along Hadrian’s Wall!
Milecastle 20 (Halton Shields) [HB 176; haiku]
The milecastle lay at the eastern end of the buildings at Halton Shields but there is, of course, nothing to see now, although it was examined in 1935 and found to have a type III northern gateway.