Chesters Roman Fort is one of the most popular Roman sites to visit along Hadrian’s Wall but being local it’s years since my last visit. There’s plenty written on the archaeology of the site so there’s no point repeating any of that here, other than to say that it must have one of the best locations for a bath house, and latrines, overlooking the North Tyne.
There were a variety of butterflies to be seen over the long areas of grassland but a little easier to study were the ferns growing on the mortar of the old walls. Most common was wall rue (Asplenium ruta-muraria) a common fern of limestone but using the lime rich mortar here instead. A little rarer was the more delicate ‘fern like’ fronds of black spleenwort (Asplenium adiantum-nigrum), a slightly less fussy fern. A third close relative, maidenhair spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes) was looking a little more shrivelled in the dry conditions. This pretty much completed the set of common wall ferns likely to be found in Northumberland though the missing rustyback would be a contender for fourth place.