Take a tour around county’s Roman ruins

An exposed section of Roman road at Holystone.
An exposed section of Roman road at Holystone.

An Alnwick author, who has published a series of books on Northumberland’s history, has turned his attention to the Romans for his latest work.

Ian Hall has looked back to the days when the builders of the Roman Empire were constructing camps, roads and buildings across the north of England.

Edge of Empire – A Guide to the Roman Remains in the Northumberland Landscape details many examples of these, or their ruins, that can still be seen today.

As the blurb explains, ‘some of the Roman ruins are among the most-visited historic sites in the country, but alongside these are many more sites that are less well-known, less visited and free to access.

‘All the significant sites are covered, but most attention is given to those that are off the tourist trail’.

The book provides a brief history of the Romans in the north and details of what they built, but the bulk is a guide to what to see and where to see it, split into three sections.

Unsurprisingly, the first and largest section is devoted to Hadrian’s Wall, running broadly from east to west.

The second focuses on Dere Street, which was the main road north from York into Scotland, much of which is still used by the A68, and the final section deals with some interesting sites at Holystone in the Coquet Valley.

During his research, Ian used two memoirs from the 1850s by Henry MacLauchlan, who was commissioned by the Duke of Northumberland to survey the county’s Roman ruins, one tackling Dere Street and the other the Devil’s Causeway.

Ian has republished these two books in new versions designed to be more accessible for the modern reader.

Edge of Empire is priced at £5.50, while the two MacLauchlan books are £4.50 each, or all three can be bought for £10.

Get in touch by phone on 01665 604717 or by post to 15 Fairfields, Alnwick, NE66 1BT.

Wanney Books has a website, www.wildsofwanney.co.uk