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Chesters Roman Fort

Chesters Roman Fort and Museum is the best preserved Roman cavalry fort in Britain and as such makes a very interesting place to visit. Set into Hadrian's Wall it is easy to imagine life as a soldier at this outpost of the Roman Empire.

Although the remains of this Roman fort are over 1,800 years old, some of the evidence shows a lifestyle that was far from primitive. The fort would have housed around 500 troops and was occupied for nearly three centuries.

The area around Chesters Fort was originally known as "Cilurnum" by the Romans, probably after a swirling pool in the River Tyne. It is just north of Hexham and about 40 km (25 miles) west of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

The purpose of the fort was to guard the bridge over the River North Tyne over which the wall actually ran. The bridge abutments can still be seen in the river by visitors in-the-know.

Explore the officers' quarters on the site and scramble down the steep slopes and steps on the riverbank to see the impressive steam room and the garrison's bathhouse which were an important part of Roman culture. The well-preserved rooms would have offered hot and cold baths as well as changing rooms and a clubhouse.

Other interesting sights at Chesters Fort are the remains of the four gates, still with their holes for the iron pivots, and the main headquarters building with its courtyard and regimental shrine. The niches in the walls would have held statues or altars to gods such as Fortuna, idol of all Roman gamblers!

Near the west gateway are the remains of an oven, probably part of the garrison bakehouse which would have been separate from other buildings to reduce the risk of fire. The east gateway, facing the river, is one of the best preserved portals on Hadrian's Wall, with part of its portal archways still intact.

After exploring the interesting remains onsite, browse the restored Victorian Museum of Roman Finds. Excavation of Hadrian's Wall has revealed an impressive array of exhibits which are now on display in the extensive museum. Many objects were retrieved by antiquarian John Clayton just 100 years ago, having lain undiscovered for centuries.

The artifacts include altars and inscriptions to the many deities as well as archaeological discoveries found within the wall itself. A military discharge certificate dated 146AD was found on this site, granting Roman citizenship to the British soldiers which suggests the fortress was heavily staffed with native troops. Many other artifacts reveal clues to the long history of this fascinating attraction.

There is plenty of parking around the Chesters Roman Fort site and during the summer visitors can finish their visit in the tearoom which serves welcome refreshments.

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By Bus<:
Stagecoach in Cumbria AD122 Carlisle - Hexham railway station(Apr-Oct); also Tyne Valley 880/2 from Hexham railway station.

By Road:
1/4 mile W of Chollerford, on B6318.

By Train:
Hexham 5 1/2 miles.

Chesters Roman Fort Postcode for SatNav: NE45 4EU


+44 (0) 870 333 1181
+44 (0) 1793 414 926

NE45 4EU

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