About Aesica Roman Fort
Aesica Roman Fort was the ninth fort built along the line of Hadrian’s Wall and is thought to have been constructed around 128 AD. Today its remains are some of the best preserved along the wall, and provide for an atmospheric walk around some of Britain’s oldest history.
Aesica Roman Fort history
Unlike other forts along Hadrian’s Wall, Aesica is actually located to the south of the Wall, and was built to guard the Caw Gap where the Haltwhistle Burn river crosses over it. The original fort had three main gates with double portals and towers at each corner, yet at some point the western gate was completely blocked up. Garrisoned there in the 2nd century was the Sixth Cohort of Nervians, from the Belgic Nervii tribe of northern Gaul, and the Sixth Cohort of Raetians, from the Raetia province in central Europe. In the 3rd century, the Second Cohort of Asturians were stationed there, hailing from Asturias in Spain.
Excavations undertaken in 1894 unearthed a wealth of treasures from Aesica, including a gilded bronze brooch considered a masterpiece of Celtic art, a bronze ring with a Gnostic gem and an enamelled brooch in the shape of a hare.
Aesica Roman Fort today
Today the fort remains well preserved, with a number of its external walls still visible alongside the outlines of many of the internal buildings. A Roman bathhouse lies a short distance to the south of the fort, which included a dressing room, latrine, cold room, dry-heat room and two steam rooms!
Near the south gateway is also found one of the only shrines along the Wall, where people today leave coins (perhaps for good luck!), while at the centre of the site the entrance to the fort’s strong room beneath the headquarters building can be found.
The surrounding area provides stunning scenery for any visit to Aesica, with the North Pennines dominating the skyline to the south.
Getting to Aesica Roman Fort
Aesica Roman Fort is located just north of Haltwhistle in Northumberland off the B6318. The nearest carpark is Cawfields Quarry, about a 15-minute walk to the site. Public transport such as buses and trains are available to Haltwhistle, from which around an hour’s walk will take you to Aesica.