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Virtual Earth map of Binchester Roman Fort

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Binchester Roman Fort (called Vinovia by the Romans) is situated just over 1 mile (1.6 km) to the north of the town of Bishop Auckland on the banks of the River Wear in County Durham, England. The fort was the site of a hamlet until the late middle-ages, but the modern-day village of Binchester is about 2 miles (3 km) to the east, near Spennymoor.

The fort was established to guard the crossing of the River Wear by Dere Street, the main Roman road between York, Hadrian's Wall and Scotland, and also the fort's via principalis. It was the largest Roman fort in County Durham, but only a relatively small part of its centre has been excavated and is open to the public. A small town (vicus) existed to the west of the fort, the remains of which are buried under the pastures of Binchester Hall Farm. The southern part of the fort is now beneath Binchester Hall, while some of the defences were destroyed in a landslip in the 19th century. Part of the stone bridge used by Dere Street to cross the River Wear can still be seen when the river is low.


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