John Clayton (1792–1890) managed a successful law practice, but his passion was archaeology. To stop local people destroying Hadrian's Wall by hauling away its stones for building material, he bought long stretches of the wall and several of its forts, including Housesteads. He owned the Chesters Estate and fort, and made accessible many of the region’s Roman remains. Among the treasures here are statues of a reclining river god, and the (now headless) goddess Juno Dolichena.
Facilities – at a glance
- Parking onsite
- Facilities: Wheelchair loan available
- Accessible toilets
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open Apr-Sep, daily 10-6; Oct, daily 10-5; Nov-19 Feb & 25 Feb-Mar, Sat-Sun 10-4; 20-24 Feb, daily 10-4. Closed 24-26 Dec & 1 Jan
Also in the area
About the area
If it’s history you’re after, there’s heaps of it in Northumberland. On Hadrian’s Wall you can imagine scarlet-cloaked Roman legionaries keeping watch for painted Pictish warriors while cursing the English weather and dreaming of home. Desolate battlefield sites and hulking fortresses such as Alnwick, Dunstanburgh, Bamburgh and Warkworth are reminders that this, until not so very long ago, was a contested border region. The ruins of Lindisfarne bear witness to the region’s early Christian history.
Northumberland also has some of Britain’s best beaches. On summer days, and even in winter, you’ll see surfers and other brave souls making the most of the coast. Inland, there are some great walks and bike rides in the dales of the Cheviot Hills and the Simonsides – just hilly enough to be interesting, without being brutally steep. There's dramatic scenery in the High Pennines, where waterfalls plunge into deep valleys, and there are swathes of heather-scented moorland. Northumberland National Park covers over 400 square miles of moorland and valleys with clear streams and pretty, stone-built villages. It’s just the place for wildlife watching too. You’ll find flocks of puffins, guillemots and other seabirds around the Farne Islands, and seals and dolphins offshore.
Places to Stay
Restaurants and Pubs
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