The whole time we lived in England, I always thought it would be really fun to hike along part (or maybe all!) of Hadrian's Wall. Hadrian's Wall is a wall that was used to separate England from the "barbarians" in the north. It stretched for 73 miles across England. In some places, it was as high as 20 feet and in others it was around 11. It was a big wall. There are still a few places, apparently, that remain up to 10 feet high, but most of the wall is around four or five feet due to people taking the stones to built other things (like roads).
A lot of the wall is only still around because of a man named John Clayton. He was a lawyer who slowly bought up the land around parts of the wall to prevent people from stealing more stone. He also had some parts of the wall rebuilt. So, thanks, John Clayton!
We never did get around to hiking that wall pathway, but we did finally stop to see it. There were various forts along the wall to protect the inhabitants of England from invaders. We stopped at one of these forts in Cumbria: Fort Birdoswald.
A small bit of wikipedia research (I can't remember everything!) shows me that Birdoswald is actually the name of the farm that later occupied the site and the proper name of the Roman fort was Banna. I don't actually remember learning that information at the fort and also the sign says Birdoswald. Also according to wikipedia, it is one of the best preserved of all the (16) forts along the wall. We're good at picking places, I guess.
One of the main things I remember about Birdoswald was that there was a gymnasium which was a strange for that kind of fort. I guess England is cold or rainy or something.
The building that is still standing was built in 1745 as a much less ornate building. Henry Norman added all of the fancyness (like the tower) in 1858.
We saw a few people hiking along the wall like the man above!
The views in Cumbria are great. It's the quintessential English countryside.
I'm pretty sure that this was where the gymnasium was located.
Maybe someday we can go back and hike the path!