Wall Mile 50

Wall Mile 50 [HB 309–16]

It might justifiably be argued that this is one of the most interesting of the Wall Miles. Not by me, I hasten to add, but I can see why it could be thought to be.

The Turf Wall and ditch (foreground) with the Vallum (beyond)

The Turf Wall and ditch (foreground) with the Vallum (beyond)

The Trail takes us gently downhill, next to the Turf Wall (a low mound north of its ditch) and then across a couple fields, keeping the earthwork to our left. The Vallum is immediately behind the Turf Wall and that proximity may have been one reason for moving the Stone Wall slightly to the north (the Vallum is in places perched on the edge of the Irthing gorge so has nowhere else to go). We can clearly see the road, following the line of the Stone Wall, off to our right. At the end of this long straight stretch we exit the field, turn right up a track, and then left and over a small pedestrian bridge.

Turf Wall and ditch

Turf Wall and ditch

The Stone Wall

After leaving the site of Milecastle 50, apart from the ditch to the north of the road and the comforting knowledge that the curtain wall lies beneath the road, there is not much to see if we go this way, although it does provide continuing assurance of the way in which the Romans used the terrain to enhance the effect of the Wall. To get back onto the Trail proper, those following the Stone Wall route need to turn left onto the track to Lanerton Farm and then immediately right and over the pedestrian bridge.

Crossing the Turf Wall and its ditch

Crossing the Turf Wall and its ditch

After that bridge, the Trail passes through a line of trees and climbs the slight slope ahead of us, ultimately crossing the Turf Wall ditch just before we reach Milecastle 50, where the Turf and Stone Walls reunite.

Milecastle 51 (Wall Bowers) [HB 316; haiku]

Milecastle 51

Milecastle 51

Located at the north end of the field, next to a field gate, Milecastle 51 is rather interesting, since (like Milecastle 29) it is one of the few to display traces of a ditch (on its eastern side). It was excavated in 1927, 1934, and 1936 and the robber trenches for its east and west walls are still very clear.