Extra access planned for St Albans’ Roman walls

VISITORS to Verulamium Park could soon have greater access to the Roman wall and late Iron Age and Roman ditch as St Albans District Council is negotiating to open up the historic defences to the public.

The council hopes to agree a footpath route through the ancient ditch and along the Roman wall with English Heritage, which is responsible for Roman defences in the southeast corner of Verulamium Park.

Chris Green, the council’s museums and heritage officer, said: “We think that the whole of the Roman defences can be much more proactively presented to the public.

“To that end we are hoping to agree with English Heritage the route of footpaths through this ditch and along the Roman Wall which will give people better access to the ruins.

“This should keep people away from other areas which are subject to erosion or where there is a danger to the visitor or the monument.”

He said that once the route was agreed, the path would be formed from natural earth or bark chippings.

“Where you get in or out of the ditch or over banks there will be gentle steps retained either by timber or recycled plastic with earth or bark fill. The route will be dependent upon the nature of the site and negotiations with English Heritage.”

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The path is part of a planned �250,000 facelift for the famous St Albans landmark, with the council also to replace signs in the park early next year to help visitors navigate the attraction. The Causeway toilets, park entrances, lake and river will also be upgraded.

The two-year project, which started this year, has been given the thumbs-up from Charles Baker, the council’s tourism and regeneration manager.

He said: “Verulamium Park and the Roman ruins are a key tourist attraction for St Albans. The programme of improvements for Verulamium Park will help ensure that the visitor experience is one that is informative and enjoyable.”

The council would also like to improve signs at Beech Bottom Dyke, pre-Roman earthworks parallel to Beech Road, but work at Verulamium Park is taking priority at present.

The council-owned dyke has been accessible to the public for about 150 years.