Vital repairs are finally underway on Roman wall in St Albans park

A section of railing has been installed to prevent people from climbing on the Roman wall in Verulam

A section of railing has been installed to prevent people from climbing on the Roman wall in Verulamium park - Credit: Archant

Work to preserve the remains of the wall that originally surrounded the Roman town of Verulamium is underway.

And while they wholeheartedly welcome the work being carried out by English Heritage, local conservationists are lobbying for metal signs to go up on the part of the ancient wall no longer protected by railings.

Tim Boatswain, chairman of St Albans Civic Society, said both they and the St Albans and Herts Architectural and Archaeological Society (Arc and Arc) had voiced their concerns when the railings were taken down from the stretch of wall up by The Causeway.

The railings were removed when St Albans council put in a cycle path adjoining the steps.

Tim said that once that happened, “people were climbing and walking along the walls and and some were removing stones from them because they are lime plaster”.

In addition teenagers used the walls for scrambling on their bikes, he went on.

Tim said: “It is nice that people can get access but we don’t want the walls to be eroded in the future because they are lime mortar.”

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He went on: “The police have been helpful and put up temporary signs as part of their heritage crime initiative. But they have all been ripped down so we need nice metal signs in keeping with the site.”

Although English Heritage are the caretakers of the site, they do not have the money for such a project although they had looked at the possibility of some kind of knee-high barrier.

The two conservation groups are hoping that the district council will consider footing the bill for metal ‘keep off’ signs

The current conservation project to stabilise and safeguard the wall. The prominent piece of wall in the park, which is protected by railings, is being fully consolidated while the wall alongside the footpath is being part reinforced in the areas which most need it.

Because the lime mortar has suffered from exposure to the elements, areas of the facing stone work have weathered away, leaving the core of the walls exposed.

Traditional materials and methods are being used and flintwork is being repointed, repaired and refaced where necessary.

Verulamium was the third largest city in Britain in Roman times and the wall was built between AD265 and 270 to defend it from attack.

The original wall was around two miles long and is believed to have been about five metres high with a walkway on top and a 1.8 metre parapet.