I know that Hadrian’s Wall is right on our doorstep in the North East. I live near its end. I’ve worked upon it at Walbottle High School but in all honestly, I haven’t really experienced it. Like many other people of colour living on the North East, I haven’t ventured out to the wall. I haven’t really known where to go, where to start. And when I’ve looked online, I see the forts and visitor centres but there’s always a price attached to entry. To be honest, I didn’t understand it and didn’t know how to change this. Until now.
With the help and support of Chris Jones, Historic Environment Officer of Northumberland National Park Authority, a coach load of women and children from the Angelou Centre, were introduced to Hadrian’s Wall at Walltown Quarry, Nirthumberland. And once you know where to start, from vistor’s car park and onwards and upwards, getting to know experience Hadrian’s Wall didn’t seem so after all.
Starting from the car park and passing the river on the right, we first stopped at Fossil Crag to search for the remains of tiny creatures in rocks. After finding only little pieces we then continued along the path passing a stone walls remenant of what hill forts to keep people in looked like. Following the path upward through a gate to the bottom of a hill to climb to get to the wall.
We crossed over the old military road, where our ancestors probably stood thousands and thousands of years ago, now just an impression in the sloping landscape. But it felt good to stand there and connect with ourselves, others and the history of the land.
We walked parallel with the wall as it ran up and down to merge into turret 45a. Usually, there were two turrets per mile used as watch towers by a small number of Roman soldiers. Here, there were just the foundations of the construction but without a doubt their look out would have been spectacular.
We descended soon after the turret to come back on ourselves through the woods back to the car park.
Speaking to the women on the way back home, I got the chance to find out a little bit more about them as well as if they’ve been enjoying the outings so far. Khoyrun, who has been with the Angelou Centre for 5 to 6 years, and now is on the board, expressed her enjoyment of this time they have been spending together outdoors. She said,
“I’ve enjoyed all of the outings this summer with idenity on tyne. All of them have been amazing. I’ve not really had a relationship with nature as I’ve not been brought up with the experience. I feel so happy and relaxed being out there and enjoy it most with a group because then I’m not alone. I feel comfortable out there feel like I belong and I’m connected with nature.”