For me, Cawfields Milecastle holds a special place because it was the very first site I saw of Hadrian’s Wall in 2005. Standing there, leaning on the wall and looking out over the somewhat bleak northern English landscape, I felt a connection with the Romans who lived around and patrolled the wall.
But during my 2010 visit, I saw many more sites that were equally as impressive. For stunning wallscapes, the Walltown Crags section was hard to beat. Part of the Hadrian’s Wall’s attraction, besides its amazing engineering and the fact that a lot of it is still standing, is the rugged, craggy landscape it snakes along.
Another walk along the wall I would recommend is from Gilsland to Birdoswald, a stretch just over a mile with two milecastles, two turrets and the Willowford bridge abutment remains at the River Irthing. Unfortunately time and weather kept me from hiking along the Steel Rigg and Crag Lough sections, but they are said to offer great views. I could see these sections from the B6318 road that runs up and down parallel to the wall.
Forts on the wall include Corbridge Roman Town with an excellent museum. Corbridge was an early fort that predated the wall and there are remains of the civilian settlement that surrounded the fort. Chesters Fort has the best preserved Roman military bath house in Britain, and Housesteads and Birdoswald Forts have long lengths of wall attached. Vindolanda Fort is south of the wall and there was a fort there about forty years before the wall was built.
Hadrian’s Wall was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and in 2005 it became part of a new multi-national World Heritage Site called Frontiers of the Roman Empire. Hadrian also built various frontier structures along the Rhine and Danube Rivers in Europe and in North Africa.