The roman walls of Chester have stood for almost 2000 years. Reinforced over the years to protect the city until their military purpose was no longer required. The walls were changed into a fashionable walkway during the 18 century and remain so today. The entire length of the wall is 2 miles and make an almost complete circuit of the city centre. There are a number of points to gain entry on to the wall. With a number of gates, now arches and places of interest on route, together with attractive views. It costs nothing to walk the walls and they are available 24/7.
Chester City Walls consist of a defensive structure built to protect the city from invading armies.The construction was started by the Romans when they established the Fortress of Diva Victrix between 70 and 80 AD.After the Norman conquest the walls were extended to the west and south to form a complete circuit of the medieval city,this was probably complete by the middle of the 12th century.Maintenance of the structure of the walls was an ongoing concern,they were heavily damaged during the Civil War,following this they ceased to have a defensive purpose and were developed for leisure and recreation.
The walls are now a major tourist attraction and form an almost complete circuit of the former medieval city providing a walkway of about two miles.Upkeep and repair of the walls continues to be a problem.
One of the towers around the Chester City Walls. This tower is located at the north east corner of the wall. It is believed that this is where King Charles I stood, and watched his army being defeated by Parliamentary troops during the Battle of Rowton Moor (24 September 1645).
It has also been known as the Phoenix Tower and the Newton Tower.
There are some 2 miles (just over 3 km) of unbroken city wall to explore. I was surprised by the experience, and although I did not do the full circuit in one walk, I did walk the full length of the walls.
I understand that you can join a formal tour of the walls - I past several of these groups as I completed my solitary walk, enjoying the sights and views.
Chester has superb Walls and few places can boast of walls as Ancient and complete as these. They have an elavated walkway which lets you walk for 2 miles (3 km) right around the City where you can get some great views of the city. some of which you can only get from the walls.
The Romans first built wooden walls and deep ditches to keep marauding local tribes before they built walls of stone. In the middle ages these became the foundations of the east and north sections that you can see today. The rest being a 12th century extension which took in Chester Castle while Medieval watch towers strengthened the fortifications.
During the Civil war when Chester was besiged for 18 months by Parlimantarian troops King Charles I on one occasion stood on Phoenix Tower (now known as King Charles's Tower) watching his army being beaten at nearby Rowton Moor.
The Sandstone walls of Chester provide a pleasant 2 mile walk, sometimes 39 feet above street level providing some great views of the City and the surrounding countryside. To the North and East they follow the line of the old Roman walls, traces of which can still be seen. The Southern walls, extended down to the river by the Saxons, were rebuilt by the Normans who added the Western walls to complete the circuit. By the 1500's the walls were dotted with watchtowers and heavily fortified and presented a formidable barrier which withstood cannon bombardment during the Civil war siege. The Medieval gates were later replaced by arches and the Walls breached to accomodate roads and railway. During our visit part of the wall was being repaired and restored to its' former glory.
Walking the walls of Chester takes a good hour. If you do not have that long try starting by the Eastgate Clock and head down to the river. As a local I would not recommend walking the walls in the dark
Kaleyards Gate is a 13th century postern that opened into the monks' vegetable gardens. In 1275 King Edward I allowed the monks of St Werburgh Abbey to breach the city walls, as long as the gate did not permit the entry of a man on horseback, so as to prevent attack. In a 700-year-old tradition, it is locked at 9pm every night to secure the city inside its walls.
Formerly known as the Phoenix Tower, this is the tower from which King Charles I watched his cavalry defeated by the Parliamentarians at the Battle of Rowton Mooor in 1645.
The Painters' Guild, which included the famous seventeenth century artist John Souch, used to meet in an upper room in the tower.
During the Middle Ages, when Chester was an imporatant port, the River Dee flowed close to this gate and all goods brought into the city passed through it and the gatekeeper charged tolls here. The original water gate was replaced by the current arch in 1788.
Nowadays, it is a pedestrian bridge over the main east-west road into the city, Watergate Street. It also offers good views over Chester Racecourse.
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