About Binchester Roman Fort
Binchester Roman Fort contains the remains of one of the largest Roman fortifications in northern Britain, that was once a thriving centre of military operations.
Binchester Roman Fort history
Binchester Roman Fort was founded around 79 AD to guard the crossing of the River Wear by Dere Street, the main road connecting York to Hadrian’s Wall and Scotland. It was the largest Roman fort in County Durham, and evidence points to its construction in parallel with Agricola’s march northward into the Brigantes’ territory.
Binchester’s vast size meant that it could host a considerable military force and was an important staging post for the Roman military in the region. Evidence found at the site shows that the fort held cavalry units, with inscriptions showing them to be multicultural in nature – one such hailed from central Spain and another from what is now Holland.
Binchester Roman Fort remained in use throughout the Roman period and a large civilian settlement grew up around it, with locals continuing to occupy it several centuries after the Roman forces departed. The modern-day village of Binchester is about 2 miles to the east of the site.
Binchester Roman Fort today
Today Binchester Roman Fort site is open to visitors who can explore its atmospheric remains, including two well-preserved bath houses. The first lies within the fort complex and holds one of the best preserved hypocausts – or underfloor heating systems – in Britain, while the second lies outside the fort complex, and contains walls still standing 6ft tall!
Sections of the Roman Dere Road may also be viewed, while excavations of the site are also ongoing to uncover more of its fascinating story. There are information boards around the site, while guests may also take guided tours, helping to fully envision what was once a thriving Roman military base.
Getting to Binchester Roman Fort
Binchester Roman Fort is located 1.5 miles north of Bishop Auckland, and can be reached by heading west off the A688 road. Free parking is available onsite, while trains and buses also run into Bishop Auckland, a 30-minute walk to the site.
The ultimate guide to Roman sites in Britain, from Vindolanda to Segedunum, Durnovaria and more, includes an interactive map of Roman ruins in the UK.