Hadrian's Wall UNESCO World Heritage Site in half million pound refurbishment

By Sarah Jackson | 10 September 2013

Visitors to Hadrian’s Wall have always been encouraged to treat the 73-mile long UNESCO World Heritage Site with care.

Three men working on a low section of Hadrian's Wall.
Heritage Consolidation at work on Hadrian's Wall.© Courtesy of Hadrian's Wall Trust
Nearly 2,000 years of erosion, not to mention pillaging by locals, have turned the site from formidable fortification into a broken series of forts and a low three foot wall.

Recent visitors to the Wall might, therefore, have been surprised to see archaeologists taking the wall apart.

Hadrian’s Wall is on many monument lists and registers but the most unfortunate is English Heritage's At Risk Register. In an effort to preserve the wall for future generations, the SITA Trust (an independent environmental funding body) has awarded the Hadrian’s Wall Trust a grant of £537,185 to rebuild parts of the wall, improve access in some areas and provide new signage and interpretation.

"It's fantastic to see the work that has been done so far and more work in progress to conserve this part of the world heritage site for future generations," says Andrew Saunders, from the SITA Trust.

"We hope that this significant grant will also encourage other funders to come forward to support Hadrian's Wall, ultimately removing all sections from the Heritage at Risk register."

Survey work began in June, with the project expected to be completed in October. Work at Housesteads and Peel Crags has already been completed, with work now taking place at Great Chesters, Burtholme Beck and Port Carlisle.

Each section of the wall has been treated differently over time, meaning that conservation work must be tailored to for each section’s needs. All the work will be completed by hand using traditional methods such as lime and sand mortar.

New stones will be a different colour to ensure that they are distinct to the Roman stones, creating a visual representation of this new stage in the history of the wall.

Even after the conservation work has been completed, it will still be vulnerable to erosion from nature and humans.

"Everyone can help conserve the wall every time they visit by following the Hadrian's Wall Trust's Every Footstep Counts code," suggests Bryan Scott, the sustainable access manager for the Trust.

"Walkers are asked not to walk on the wall itself and to walk side-by-side rather than in single file to help protect surrounding archaeology which often lies just beneath the ground surface.”

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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