Nearly 2000 years ago, Hadrian’s Wall was constructed on the northern frontier of Rome’s mighty empire. Today it is a World Heritage site with the surrounding countryside forming a stunning background to some of the better preserved sections such as the forts and settlements of Birdoswald near historic Lanercost in Cumbria, Housesteads, Vindolanda and Chesters. Northumberland was the region in which Christianity was first introduced into England and, as a consequence, it has some of the finest early religious buildings in the country. At Hexham, the centre and main market town for the district, is the magnificent abbey, founded by Saint Wilfrid in AD674, once the largest church North of the Alps. This region was also the scene of bitter conflict between England and Scotland and as a consequence, for reasons of personal security, the inhabitants erected castles such as Prudhoe, fortified manor houses such as Ayton Castle and smaller “bastle houses” or fortified farmhouses which are unique to Northumberland, many of which are still to be found in this area. The area was the birthplace of George Stephenson, father of railways and the celebrated engraver, Thomas Bewick. Their former homes at Wylam and Cherryburn are now open to the public and feature exhibitions of their work. To the south of the Wall you can explore the quiet Allendale Valley with it’s Bastle houses. Or head north to Otterburn and the back of the Cheviot Hills.
Official Website : http://www.hadrians-wall.org/
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