English Heritage Reveal Plan To Revitalise Hadrian's Wall Area

| 25 September 2002

Left: Chesters Roman Fort

English Heritage has announced a revised six- year plan to manage the spending of £7 million on the most complex and best preserved frontier of the Roman Empire - Hadrian's Wall.

The plan addresses the effect that the foot and mouth disease outbreak had on livestock farming and tourism on Hadrian's Wall, and its damage to the local economy.

Shows a photograph of a man dressed as a Roman soldier talking to a number of children and two older men.

Right: young visitors meet a ( modern) Roman soldier at Chesters Roman Fort, near Chollerford in Northumberland.

Visitor figures to rural Roman forts dropped by 38% and approximately 80% of farms within the World Heritage Site and its setting had their stock destroyed.

"Hadrian's Wall isn't just a wall, it's a complex of forts, temples, turrets, museums, exhibitions and reconstructions that bring the frontier to life," said: Dr. Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage at Birdoswald Fort in Cumbria.

"The remains of the Wall, lying in an outstanding landscape of national and international significance are a world-famous visitor attraction. Our responsibility is to ensure that the Wall and its setting are protected and enjoyed and, where possible, enhanced for future generations."

Left: latrines at Housesteads

To counter the appalling effects of foot and mouth, the Hadrian's Wall Tourism Partnership launched a £75,000 marketing campaign at the start of 2002 which has brought back many more visitors to the Wall.

From January to July 2002, visitors to Roman sites rose to 361,181, a substantial increase on the same period in 2000 of 341,219. In 2001 only 265,611 visits were made during the same period, illustrating the effects of the foot and mouth outbreak.

Right: the Romans are coming!

More than £7 million is to be provided over the next six years to create world-class visitor facilities in the central sector of Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site.

These improved facilities were one of the key objectives identified in the first Hadrian's Wall Management Plan and will be implemented during the lifetime of the revised Management Plan which runs from 2002 - 2007.

Funding will be directed for the conservation and enjoyment of Housesteads Roman Fort, the most complete Roman fort in Britain and Chesters Roman Fort, one of the best preserved examples of a cavalry fort.

There will also be a new youth hostel and visitor centre within the Northumberland National Park at Once Brewed. English Heritage has already committed £50,000 to help the owners start to repair the romantic ruined castle at Bewcastle, built within a Roman outpost fort and which is on the Buildings at Risk Register.

The castle was partially damaged in the 17th century after the Civil War, but the last recorded repairs were undertaken in the 15th century by Richard, Duke of York, later Richard III.

Left: Chesters Roman Fort

Two of the major achievements of the first Management Plan were the public opening of Segedunum Roman Fort, Bath House and Museum at Wallsend, a £9.5 million project with major funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has attracted over 135,000 visitors so far, and the opening of Thirwall Castle, a 14th century romantic ruin following a £430,000 conservation programme.

This was jointly funded by Northumberland National Park, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the European Union and English Heritage and removes the castle from the English Heritage Buildings at Risk Register.

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