03 Mar High Rochester: At the Edge of Empire
The Roman Fort at High Rochester was for two centuries the northernmost fort of the Roman Empire and is one of the best preserved archaeological sites within Northumberland National Park. The complete walled circuit is accessible, including west gate and interval tower. It sits within a landscape of Temporary Camps, the remarkable Petty Knowes Roman cemetery and the major route of Dere Street. It also commands a high point in the valley and existed within a wider landscape of “native” Romano-British settlements and farmsteads. The Fort may have been sited on a previous Iron Age settlement.
The principal aim of this project will be to conserve the structure of the Fort by removing risks to the fabric, and by improving the visual amenity of the monument. The Roman fort walls will be saved from further deterioration and collapse. In particular the project will address:
- Loss of areas of modern boundary walls around the perimeter of the fort, allowing movement of stock across the rampart;
- Gradual deterioration and loss of stones from exposed areas of the Roman curtain wall and erosion of areas of the rampart;
- Minor erosion of outer earthworks.
Once the site has been safeguarded, the project will improve the interpretation of the site to tell the story of High Rochester and its prominent place in the story of Redesdale in the context of the Roman and Border Reiver times. This will include an interpretative trail (with panels) to better link the site with the village to encourage visitors to park in Rochester, improved signage of the walk to Ridley Crag, new leaflet and a digital app to provide a 3D walk through of the Fort to take visitors around the defensive walls to view its remaining gateways.