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From Aug 2006 - Nov 2013 WeDig provided a live forum for diggers & fans of Vindolanda. It has now been mothballed and will be maintained as a live archive.

Here you will find preserved 7 years of conversation, photos, & knowledge about a site many people love. Vindolanda gets under the skin. (Figuratively and literally as a volunteer excavator!) It's a place you remember, filled with people you remember!

Thanks for 7 great years!

Staying Onsite at the Hedley Centre

The newest venue for lodging near Vindolanda is one with an intimate connection to the history of the place. I am referring of course to the Hedley Centre, which opened for business in 2011. Its name honors Reverend Anthony Hedley, one of the pioneer excavators of the site.

The Hedley occupies a substantial stone building that was once the coach house for the Chesterholm estate.

For convenience it would be impossible to improve upon it. It is nicely situated next to the car park and the cafe. And the excavation teams assemble right out front each morning for the walk onto the site.

I stayed there for a week in May of 2012. The facility still had a brand new feel to it. I in fact felt a bit guilty coming home every night covered with Roman dirt, although the staff are of course quite accustomed to this.

When staying at the Hedley Center you get breakfast and dinner, with a packed lunch to carry out onto the site. All were very good. They have a beverage license, allowing one to have wine (good but pricey), cider (good and cheap), and beer (alas, at least in 2012, American and mediocre). And a laundry on site is a great convenience for a group of travelers who have to contend daily with toil and turf.

The company of course varies from week to week. My week saw a mixture of older and younger folks, a congenial group. As we experienced a week of very hard slogging there was little socializing around the TV in the evening. But for those inclined to acknowledge the modern world in this way it, is possible to do so.

I very much enjoyed my stay, and found the staff quite helpful. As always there were a few quirks. Some positive, a few just quirky.

The beds were great for sleeping, although a long day of digging and a few hours at the local pub probably helped. There was a nice “travelers’ library” of books left behind for future readers.

I did end up in one of the rooms designed for handicap access. As the Hedley also serves as a conference centre this is a necessity, but the shower took more than a bit of tinkering to figure out. And the whole place seemed so……new. It was a bit of an adjustment after spending the day sifting through tumbled down ruins.

I would recommend the Hedley for anyone, but as it compares to other options it might appeal most to a few groups.
  • It makes sense if you do not have a car and do not fancy the long walk from other accommodations in the area.
  • It would be a good option for solo travelers, as it will certainly get you acquainted with a good portion of the volunteers for the week.
  • And it should also be noted that the Vindolanda Trust sets aside a certain number of excavator slots specifically for those staying at the Hedley. As Vindolanda appears to grow each year in popularity this would be a way to increase your chances of getting an opportunity to experience this remarkable site with trowel in hand.

Page created by Tim Wolter (Badger), March 2013