Hadrian’s Wall, ancient Roman stone and masonry wall, constructed to protect the northern boundary of Roman Britain against hostile tribes. Emperor Hadrian of Rome ordered its construction around ad 122.
The wall extended 117 km (73 mi) from Solway Firth to the mouth of the Tyne River and was about 6 m (about 20 ft) high and about 2.4 m (about 8 ft) wide.
A military road ran along the south side of the wall, and a series of heavily garrisoned forts and sentry posts were built along its length. The wall also marked the frontier of Roman civil jurisdiction. A few sections of Hadrian’s Wall remain standing in present-day Great Britain.
A significant portion of the wall still exists, particularly the mid-section, and for much of its length the wall can be followed on foot. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern England, where it is often known simply as the Roman Wall. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. English Heritage, a government organization in charge of managing the historic environment of England, describes it as “the most important monument built by the Romans in Britain”.
Hadrian’s Wall was 80 Roman miles (73.5 statute miles or 117 kilometres) long, its width and height dependent on the construction materials which were available nearby. East of River Irthing the wall was made from squared stone and measured 3 metres (9.7 ft) wide and five to six metres (16–20 ft) high, while west of the river the wall was made from turf and measured 6 metres (20 ft) wide and 3.5 metres (11.5 ft) high. This does not include the wall’s ditches, berms, and forts. The central section measured eight Roman feet wide (7.8 ft or 2.4 m) on a 10-foot (3.0 m) base. Some parts of this section of the wall survive to a height of 10 feet (3.0 m).