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MAIDEN WAY

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Roman road RR 865. Birdoswald - Bewcastle. (6 miles). A direct road following a single alignment for practically the whole distance is still visible over much of its course and in some places is very well preserved. No trace has been found for the first half mile from Birdoswald (NY 66 NW 14), across the shallow valley of Midgeholm Moss, but directly after crossing the modern road to Gilsland the agger appears, which in the north-west corner of the meadow that it crosses, stands 30 feet wide and 1 foot high. It is over 2 feet high just beyond, where it passes diagonally under a field wall, and continues over Waterhead Common with a wall on its left side. The road crosses King Water at Slittery Ford and the terrace ascending the opposite bank is clearly visible leading in an upstream direction for one hundred yards, after which the previous direction is resumed. It continues past Highstead Ash, where the construction of the road was examined, 16-17 feet wide, edged with squared kerbstones and built up on a packed layer of large and small pieces of freestone and cobbles, resting on the subsoil. The road is then traceable across the moor and fields to Spadeadam passing a few yards east of the farm and running diagonally through two former plantations, where the agger, 30 feet wide and 1-2 feet high appears. It continues direct to the highest ground passing right of the Roman signal station on Gillalees Beacon (NY 57 SE 8) and eventually to High House on the ridge overlooking Bewcastle. Here a zigzag eased the descent, and then a short alignment more to the north carried it through fields, where the agger is faintly visible. Near the valley bottom a turn north-west was made to take it straight to the fort at Bewcastle (NY 57 SE 15). A section of the road 6.58km long is scheduled.

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