78. Who looks after Hadrian’s Wall?

Most of the Wall requires and receives no maintenance since it lies buried, but those sections that are exposed and consolidated, in the care of English Heritage (in the old days ‘in guardianship’), are looked after by them. Although there used to be a direct labour force who specialised in the care of the Wall, nowadays the work is contracted out.

In a wider sense, Historic England ‘look after’ the whole Wall, since its statutory protection is one of their duties. For those specific parts in their care, the National Trust and Northumberland National Park have key roles, as do local councils. The task of promoting and managing the Wall and its immediate region used to fall to Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd, who also ran the Hadrian’s Wall Country website. Many of these duties have now been taken over by the National Park whilst the website (www.visithadrianswall.co.uk) is now run by the NewcastleGateshead Initiative. It is especially important to acknowledge the role of two local archaeological societies, the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, who have in the past acted as pressure groups to protect the needs of the Wall, as well as jointly organising the decennial Pilgrimage to the Wall, but nowadays more often publish learned papers and monographs about the monument. The Newcastle society owns many of the inscribed and sculpted stones from the eastern half of the Wall that used to reside in the Museum of Antiquities but can now be seen in the Great North Museum.

Further reading: Symonds and Mason 2009