Milecastle 48, is one of the best preserved milecastles on Hadrianís Wall. Poltross includes an oven, a stair to the rampart walk, and the remains of its north gateway.
It was known by locals for a long time, and still is by many locals as the Kings Stables, but since tourism has developed it has been more known by the title Poltross Burn Milecastle. The renaming would appear to have happened so that archaeologists could avoid any link to the legends of King Arthur.
The milecastle is 18.5m by 21.3m and has a roadway through it in the longest dimension, with two barrack blocks, one each side of the roadway. It was built with broad gage defensive walls, including stub walls that suggests it was an early development, before the decision was made to make the wall narrower. It then joins narrow walls.
The stair base and first few steps survive in the south east corner, and someone projected from this that the walk height on the wall would be 3.6 metres and total wall height, including parapet, 4.6metres. The English Heritage board on the site says that it was built by the sixth legion, manned by auxiliary troops and occupied until the 4th century. It was excavated in 1909.
The railway that runs very close to it is the Tyne Valley Line, from Newcastle to Carlisle.
Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham used with permission. Previously on www.visitcumbria.com
The wall at Gilsland Photo by
The reverse view of this is below, and appears to go to the railway line and the milecastle is just the other side, but at the higher level, so at least a part of the hillside ahead was there before the railway.
Photo by Mike Quinn
Photo above by Iain Russell
Stairway remains photo by Mike Quinn
Remains on an oven photo by Mike Quinn
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