Wall Mile 58 [HB 335–6]
We can now carry on along the road until signposts show us that the Trail is heading cross-country again. We must cross the road carefully and head down the field, keeping next to the hedgeline. Before long we come to a kissing gate into the next field where there is often a major issue with poaching. No, not illegal slaughter of game birds, nor even the alfresco cooking of eggs, but rather the breakdown of soil structure caused by animals (and humans) plodging through it when it is wet. The problem here is that livestock like to congregate in the corners of fields if the weather is bad and there is some measure of shelter. It is also, let’s face it, good fun (if you’re a cow) to spook that small proportion of the human population that don’t like cows; getting the revenge in early for the whole calves-milk-meat thing, if you like. Anyway, the long and the short of it is that poached soil is gunk heaven and this gate leads through to one such spot.
Once through the gate, we cross over the field boundary onto the berm (the ditch and the curtain wall are invisible here, both ploughed out, so you will have to take my word for it) and head south-westwards again. The ditch reappears once we pass into the next field and is conveniently marked by its resident hedgeline once more.
We progress like this for some 420m, and then the Wall suddenly makes a turn onto an almost due-westerly heading. We pass through a gate into a narrow track, which sits on the berm between a fence to the south and hawthorn trees to the north, marking the curtain wall to our left and the ditch to our right. After only 240m of this we reach the location of Milecastle 59, which sat near the crest of the low hill we are assailing.
Milecastle 59 (Old Wall) [HB 336; haiku]
Milecastle 59 is beyond the hedgerow to our left and was apparently excavated by Hodgson in 1894. He found fragmentary remains and pottery, and one wall has subsequently been located by geophysical survey in 1980/1.