67. What is the Military Way?

The Military Way is the modern name given to a road that ran behind the Wall and provided access to all of the components. It usually ran between the curtain wall and the Vallum, but in some places it actually ran on top of the north mound of that earthwork. Its course is still clearly visible for much of the central sector and it can be walked as a footpath (useful for those with vertigo who wish to avoid the more precipitous crags). In its present form, it does not appear to have been an original feature of the Wall, probably being added after the abandonment of the Antonine Wall and re-occupation of Hadrian’s Wall in the mid-AD 160s.

The Military Way had a significant part to play in the 18th-century controversy over the construction of the Military Road, when Stukeley asked why the curtain wall had to be demolished to build the new road rather than re-use this existing Roman route. His pleas fell on deaf ears.

Further reading: Breeze 2006; Symonds and Mason 2009