29 June 2011
Plans for a world class Roman visitor attraction in
Maryport, Cumbria, have been submitted to Allerdale Borough Council
by Hadrian's Wall Heritage Limited.
The £10.7 million Roman Maryport development is at Camp Farm, a
Victorian model farm including a Roman fort and civilian settlement
in the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The
site is owned by Hadrian's Wall Heritage.
Capita Symonds is the lead consultant and architect for the
Michael Baker, director of sustainable development for Hadrian's
Wall Heritage said: "This key heritage development involves the
restoration and conversion of the historic farm buildings into
galleries and visitor facilities, and will significantly raise the
profile of the west coast of Cumbria as a destination worthy of
visiting to a large audience for whom the area is as yet unknown.
There will be rich, varied and complementary interpretation
emphasising the relevance of the story of Roman Maryport to us
today - for example what is it like to live on a frontier, to be an
occupying soldier, to live in an occupied country, the meeting of
different cultures. We are hopeful that Roman Maryport can be open
for the start of the main tourist season at Easter 2014."
The Netherhall Collection - currently in the Senhouse Roman
Museum - will be showcased in the new museum. This is the
finest collection of official Roman Army religious dedications
anywhere, and from which knowledge of Roman Army postings has
informed the understanding of Roman historians worldwide.
Most of the collection came from the fort and civilian settlement
The existing museum in the battery building will be refurbished
internally to provide research facilities for the archaeologists.
The reconstruction of the Roman watch tower will remain.
There will be a continuous programme of live archaeological
excavation, creating learning opportunities for local volunteers
and students and bringing together the collection and site so that
they can be managed and safeguarded together.
"Part of the proposal for Roman Maryport is a new access road
which joins the A596 about four hundred metres from the traffic
lights by St Mary's Church," said Mr Baker. "This will ensure that
the new development is very much a part of the town and that many
of the new visitors that are expected are encouraged into the town
as part of their visit. A much safer crossing of the main
road, which will benefit pupils of Netherhall School, will also be
Roman Maryport is expected to attract 55,000 visitors a year,
spending £3-4 million and creating 78 jobs in the area. This
is part of the development of the whole of Hadrian's Wall Country,
designed to draw many more visitors to the north of England.
Roman Maryport is being developed as a partnership between
Hadrian's Wall Heritage and the Senhouse Museum Trust which runs
the Senhouse Roman Museum next to the site.
The Roman fort at Maryport - Roman name Alauna - is a key part
of the Roman frontier coastal defences that extend from Hadrian's
Wall, and is included in the 150 mile Hadrian's Wall World Heritage
Paul King, Associate Director, Capita Symonds, said: "The
existing Camp Farm buildings are in a poor and derelict condition,
in urgent need of extensive repair and consolidation. As far as
possible we propose restoring the existing Victorian buildings and
keeping as much of the original farm layout as possible. New
buildings - such as the accommodation for archaeologists - and site
landscaping will be in keeping with the existing buildings. A
glazed link between the cattlesheds and the main barn creates a
'street' between the buildings and forms the main entrance to the
development, maintaining the visibility of the farm house to the
rear of the site."
It is also proposed that the first floor of an existing two
storey dovecote is used as a bat roost, which by installation of
CCTV could also be an educational tool for visitors and school
groups to see the pipistrelle and brown long eared bats roosting in
their natural habitat.
Councillor Tony Markley, Cumbria County Council cabinet member
and portfolio holder for economy and highways said: "We welcome the
proposals for Roman Maryport. This high quality visitor
attraction has an important role to play in the economic
regeneration of Maryport and indeed Cumbria, attracting domestic
and international visitors along the length of Hadrian's Wall and
"With more to see and do in Cumbria visitors are encouraged to
stay longer, and that is the key to significantly increasing
visitor spending to boost the county's economy."
An archaeological excavation of the site where 17 Roman altars
were found in 1870 began on 31 May, led by Professor Ian Haynes of
Newcastle University. This has been commissioned by the
Senhouse Museum Trust which is providing funding of £50,000 towards
the total cost of the fieldwork.