Home » Attractions » Hadrian’s Wall: Why So Small?

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Plenty of people, when confronted with Hadrian’s Wall, begin to question its size. “What possible good could this wall do?” they ask, “How is this supposed to keep anybody out?” These people should take a trip to self catering Scotland and stay in one of the holiday cottages in Scotland and then visit one of the visitor sites that are available for Hadrian’s Wall.

The wall was actually meant to stop small bands of raiders being able to quickly and easily get away. Whereas it was easy to cross the wall when not carrying anything, if you had a cart, a lot of bags full of raided goods, or a herd of animals that you had stolen, getting over the wall would take a lot longer and leave you in serious risk of being found by one of the regular patrols that walked along the length of the wall.

Because raiding was a real concern, and was damaging the economy and livelihoods of those living on the Roman side, it was definitely worth it. Building the wall put a large dent in the amount of raiding that was taking place, and the presence of a physical boundary between Roman land and Scottish land reassured people that they were safe and that things were being done. A similar method had been employed earlier along the German border of the Roman Empire, where a continuous timber palisade was constructed with forts behind it. Both walls wouldn’t have stood up to a full attack by those on the other side, but that wasn’t a concern, and each wall did manage to stop the raiding bands that were the real threat.

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