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Wall's strong future will be ensured; New pounds 537,000 grant will help monument survive.

Byline: Tony Henderson

ACASH boost will allow sections of Hadrian's Wall to be strengthened so that the monument survives into the future.

Hadrian's Wall world heritage site has received pounds 537,185 from the SITA Trust for the 18-month long project.

The operation will be managed by Hexham-based Hadrian's Wall Heritage.

Linda Tuttiett, chief executive of Hadrian's Wall Heritage, said: "This is fantastic news for Hadrian's Wall and we are very grateful to SITA Trust for recognising the importance of this project for the future of the world heritage site. The grant means parts of the central section of Hadrian's Wall, some of which are currently on English Heritage's heritage at-risk register, can be properly conserved.

"Access to the Wall will be improved at several other locations and new signage and interpretation will be put in place to help to attract more visitors to the Roman frontier."

The venture will tackle four sections of the Wall.

One is a stretch of Wall west of Housesteads fort in Northumberland which was bought and saved by 19th Century lawyer and Newcastle town clerk John Clayton, who lived on the Chesters estate at Chollerford.

Clayton sought to arrest the decline of the Wall by cementing blocks of its stone together and turfing the top.

Now the blocks will be carefully dismantled and the core of the Wall will be properly bonded to the outer stone with lime mortar for a more long-lasting repair over a stretch of 470 metres. Visible remains of the walls of Great Chesters fort, near Haltwhistle, will be consolidated to prevent further deterioration.

The fort is relatively unexplored and there are hopes that a community and volunteer excavation can take place.

Several stretches of wall over a distance of a mile between Cockmount Hill and Walltown near Greenhead in Northumberland will also be strengthened.

At a stretch at Burtholme Beck in east Cumbria, near Birdoswald, the Wall stands to up to 7ft in height but is suffering from invasive vegetation and trees growing out of the structure and this problem will be tackled.

There are also plans to install information panels at several points on the Wall and to surface paths and install direction signs to guide walkers away from underground archaeology, which could be damaged. Jools Granville of SITA Trust said: "We are delighted to improve the visitor experience at this national treasure. "We hope that this significant grant will encourage other funders to come forward to support Hadrian's Wall, ultimately removing all sections from the heritage at-risk register." Some of the sections of Wall being conserved are on land owned by the National Trust. Trust warden Andrew Poad said: "The conservation techniques which will be used on the Wall are interesting in themselves and we hope visitors will gain greater understanding of these as they pass the sites over the summer."

CAPTION(S):

DELIGHTED Linda Tuttiett, chief executive of Hadrian's Wall Heritage with Marek Gordon, Chair of SITA Trust on a stretch of Wall near Housesteads fort
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 12, 2012
Words:500
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