Part of the defences for Hadrian’s Wall, Milecastle 37 has been partly reconstructed and is currently under the watch of English Heritage. Internally, the wall is 2.2 meters high but in the east half of the barrack block it reaches just 1.0 meter. Walking Hadrian’s Wall, you will come across this section and notice that there is, unfortunately, lots of excavation spoil which blocks a difficult descent to the lower crag. Not far from the Housestead Roman Fort, the remains of this smaller fort is one of several which were placed every Roman mile along the wall of Hadrian. They were basically built to guard a gateway through the wall, and would have a garrison of up to 30 auxiliary soldiers, living in the aforementioned barrack blocks. Upon viewing of a map of Hadrian’s Wall, you will see Milecastle 37 being just one of 80, going from east to west along the wall. For defence, as well as Mile castles, the Romans also built and utilised milefortlets, turrets and towers, I think they had themselves well covered! There were 3 different types of gateways in Milecastles, long axis, short axis and turfwall. Milecastle was a short axis meaning the piers and passage walls tended to be made with smaller stonework and are assumed to have been built by Legio XX Valeria Victrix, a Roman legion having some involvement with the construction of both Hadrian’s Wall and Antonine’s Wall.
An excellent stop off point if you are partaking in the Hadrian Wall walk, still of huge interest if you are just looking for various Roman sites to explore along the wall. Though, please note this area is not directly near any shops, cafes or towns, therefore, bringing a packed lunch is advisable!