THE experience of visiting one of the North East’s most popular historic sites is to be transformed under plans revealed yesterday.
Housesteads in Northumberland is the best-preserved and most dramatically positioned of all Roman forts on Hadrian’s Wall.
Now the National Trust, English Heritage and Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd say they plan to deliver a world-class visitor experience worthy of, and sensitive to, the fort’s setting within a World Heritage Site.
The need to improve access, interpretation and visitor facilities at Housesteads has been confirmed by recent audience research.
Gareth Hoskins Architects, the team behind the award-winning Culloden Battlefield visitor centre in Scotland, will work on the Housesteads project.
Jeremy Reed of English Heritage, said: “Housesteads is one of the pearls along Hadrian’s Wall and the new visitor experience will see the magnificent fort become a first-class tourist destination, and one which will bring benefits to the whole of the North East.”
The new visitor experience will begin in 2012 and coincides with England’s hosting of the Olympic Games.
Housesteads is the most complete example of a Roman fort in Britain. Known as Vercovicium – the place of effective fighters – it was garrisoned by around 800 soldiers originally from Belgium and later reinforced by Germanic cavalry.