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Camp Farm Maryport, Cumbria

Camp Farm at Maryport is at the western point of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site – one of the largest in the world. It stretches for over 3,000 miles from Maryport across Europe to the Middle East, through Syria, and along the north coast of Africa. Under the turf of the farm is the Roman fort of Alauna and its civilian settlement or ‘vicus’. Over the years surveys and excavations have established the extent and international significance of the archaeology but so far this has not been fully presented to the public. Hadrian's Wall Trust was the agency that promoted Hadrian’s Wall around the world and had acquired the site and drawn up plans to use the model farm buildings as an international visitor attraction and interpretation centre, but the demise of the regional development agencies and funding cutbacks meant this could not be realised. The winding up of HWT put the whole future of the site in jeopardy until negotiations with NECT offered a lifeline. The site has now been safeguarded and we will look afresh at how we can tell the story of this fascinating site.

The first phase of work, funded through a successful bid to the Coastal Revival Fund, helped to secure the most vulnerable structures of the model farm buildings and created a small bothy space within one of the barns. This has enabled us to start our outreach work with the local community and work together to identify what could happen on site.

Thanks to a grant from Cumbria Community Foundation we now have light, heating and power in our bothy. This has enabled us to host the first Joint Schools Council visit where schoolchildren from across the Maryport Schools Partnership gathered to learn a little about the farm and start to think about what activities could be held on site and how they would like to be involved in its future development.

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