"A Short Guide to Hadrian's Wall" by Andrew Tibbs is an outstanding book that can be recommended without reservation to anyone interested in the story of the Romans in Britain and, in particular, in Hadrian's Wall. In our view the title of the book rather undersells what the author has achieved. Yes, at 128 pages it might be thought of as "a short guide". But for practical purposes it could equally have been called "a complete visitors' guide to...".
Our own coverage extends as far south as Hadrian's Wall, and in places a little beyond, and this book will certainly be accompanying us on our next journey south. It really is the ideal glovebox companion and nicely combines its impressive coverage of remains that can be seen on the ground today with a succinct and well-written style. A series of maps locate the sites covered closely enough to identify them on more detailed Ordnance Survey maps and each site has its own entry, ranging in length from a couple of paragraphs to a few pages. Many entries are also illustrated with colour photographs.
The book begins with an introduction and a detailed timeline, the latter concluding with a reference to the 1,900th anniversary of the beginning of the building of the wall in 2022. We then move on to an overview of the wall, which really does tell you everything you really need to know; a chapter on life and death on the wall; and a guide to the practical aspects of visiting sites along the wall.
Most of the book is given over to the previously-mentioned coverage of individual sites, heading from east to west along the wall, before moving on to the Cumbrian coast beyond it and then looking at the outpost forts to the north of the wall. Each entry sets out whether parking and other facilities are available and whether there is an admission charge; and directions are given, along with accessibility information. The author concludes with background material and a guide to other resources.
This is an informative and enjoyable book to read, but for us its main selling point lies in its lasting value as a practical companion and guide.