On Saturday, 21st July, twenty-seven Friends of Epiacum gathered together to enjoy a guided walk lead by Stewart Ainsworth which took us “Off the Fort”.
We explored areas around the Fort and looked at clues provided by the landscape as to what was there pre-Roman times and discussed why the Roman’s would have chosen that particular place to settle. We learned about Bronze and Iron Age enclosures and could clearly see the outlines of Round Houses. Looking at the area it was clear to see how suitable these places were as they were not only close to water sources but had access to main thoroughfares including the Maiden Way and the old Alston to Carlisle route which remained in use until the 18th century.
Approaching the Fort we saw how the land was separated into paddocks and closer to the Fort how the Vicus would have been laid out. Stewart explained all the different activities which would have gone on at Epaicum in Roman times.
One final point looked at was the layout of the Fort which is not oblong as most would expect but in fact lozenge shape and this is a unique example of its kind.
A very interesting and informative few hours were spent on and “off” Whitley Castle and everyone appreciated Stewart’s ability to “bring it all to life”. It was dry and breezy and we even saw some sunshine.