Facts About Hadrian’s Wall

Here are some facts about Hadrian’s Wall, built by the Romans in the 2nd century AD.

  • Hadrian’s Wall is located in the north of England, not far from the border with Scotland. It stretches for about 73 miles, from Bowness on Solway on the west coast, to Wallsend on the east coast.

  • The 73 mile length was equivalent to 80 Roman miles. The Roman mile was based on the distance that a legion, or group, of soldiers could march in 2,000 steps.
  • The wall and most of its defenses were built between about 122 and 128 AD. Its purpose was to mark the northern extent of the Roman Empire, which then covered much of Europe.
  • Hadrian’s Wall was originally constructed in two parts, with the western part of the wall built first. It was originally made from turf, allowing it to be built more quickly.
  • The Romans also built 16 forts along the length of the wall, the remains of which can be seen today. Each one could house 800 soldiers and had its own prison, hospital, bakery and stables.
  • The emperor, Hadrian, after whom the wall is named, wanted to make sure the soldiers stationed on Hadrian’s Wall were happy. He personally met with the troops and encouraged practice drills.
  • Although much of the wall is still standing, over the centuries people have taken away the stones for building. Several nearby monasteries contain stones taken from from Hadrian’s Wall.
Hadrian's Wall Map
Map showing Hadrian’s Wall (Credit)
  • A national trail was opened in 2003, which follows the path of the wall from coast to coast. Walkers are urged to walk only in warmer months, to avoid damaging the remains further.
  • Walking the trail is popular, attracting thousands of people each year. Most people walk from west to east, and the walk takes about six days.
  • Hadrian’s Wall is just one of several Roman walls built throughout Europe, including the less well known Antonine Wall, located in Scotland.

What next? Discover more Roman facts by visiting our Roman resources page.