Crosscanonby – Milefortlet

Milefortlet 21

Location : Crosscanonby

Grid Ref : NY 067401


Just south of Allonby, located on Hadrian’s Cycleway, are Milefortlet 21 and the Saltpans of Crosscanonby.


Milefortlet 21, the first total excavation of a milefortlet, and a designated World Heritage Site, reveals a wealth of information about the lifestyle of Roman troops in Britain.



The stone milefortlets measured about 15 x 18 metres, and the typical layout is clearly shown here – with two gates, a central passageway, and either side of this accommodation for the men in two barracks. None survive above a few stone courses, so it is impossible to know what they actually looked like.


One of a chain of evenly spaced mileforts, it was part of the coastal system of defences, between Bowness-on-Solway, the western end of Hadrian’s Wall, Maryport, and Ravenglass, though no wall was built down the west coast.



Close by are the remains of the Elizabethan salt pans. For nearly 700 years, salt was made from seawater along the Cumbrian coast, and the Crosscanonby site is a remarkably well-preserved example of this tradition.


There is a car park beside the coast road, and a viewing platform for the fort.

Related pages: