The Road into the West Gate By Fiona DrakeThe reason I was inspired to paint Vindolanda;Firstly this road into the west gate of the last stone fort is my first memory of visiting Vindolanda in 2006 with a friend when we were walking Hadrians Wall. That visit has inspired a lifelong wonder at the incredible writing tablets and wealth of leather and wood finds from the anaerobic layers. Since I was lucky enough to join the excavations in 2010, this view has always been one of my favourite parts of the Roman fort and vicus. I have excavated here once or twice every year since then, and walking over it every day to and from the site never ceases to give me a thrill. I just feel I’m walking in the footsteps of those thousands of people who have marched and stepped on it through history. Added inspiration comes from Barcombe Hill in the background, with its Roman quarry on the right, which makes any visit to such an amazingly rich site extra special, putting it in such a magical setting - a joy for the soul.