Hadrian's Wall

Foundations of Business


In July 2001, I visited the Roman Wall in Northumberland. Or rather I tried to visit it; access was restricted because of the foot and mouth disease (FMD) epidemic.

Most of the wall and the special sites along it are owned by the National Trust, which would normally expect several hundred thousand visitors in a year. There are many other tourist related businesses that serve this visitor population. The closure of the wall and the sites reduced visitor numbers drastically.

The wall and the sites are situated in farmland largely given over to grazing by sheep and cattle. It was this proximity of visitors and livestock that required the sites to be closed to avoid spreading the disease. The farmers who own the land and the livestock were all in a precarious financial position, needing either compensation for their animals or a speedy end to the movement restrictions. In the end, most of them got neither; and as I write, restrictions have only just been lifted.

I was told by an employee of the National Trust, who was also the wife of a local farmer, that the National Trust had investigated a plan to cull all the livestock along the wall and for a safe distance either side, so that the wall could be opened to tourists. A case could be made that the income to the local economy from the tourists was larger than that from the livestock on the farms. The general reaction from the farm community to this plan was one of outrage.

Questions / Issues to Consider


Think about the National Trust, other local businesses, local farms, visitors and would-be visitors, MAFF (as it then was) and the local Tourist Board.


Think about what can be measured in this scenario, and what could be learnt from those measures.


If the plan had been put into operation, there is more that one outcome that could have resulted. Think of what might have happened.


The plan, if carried out would clearly have upset some people. Think about the ethics of the National Trust putting forward such a plan.


Prepared by Aidan Ward. January 2002.
antelope projects veryard projects - innovation for demanding change

[student page]

[contact us]

This page last updated on January 21st, 2002
Copyright © 2002 Veryard Projects Ltd & Antelope Projects Ltd