Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 September 2013
In 2009 Hadrian's Wall Heritage (HWHL) commissioned the Centre for Interpretation Studies, Perth College-UHI and Zebra square to carry out a programme of public engagement research as part of the process of developing the Hadrian's Wall Interpretation Framework. The purpose of the research was to explore and measure the views of a number of different audiences and stakeholders, all of whom were important both to the future sustainability of Hadrian's Wall as an overall attraction and to all of the individual sites and museums. The research was informed by the market data and audience research already in existence. As such, the public engagement research aimed to add to existing knowledge, providing a greater level of detail than previously existed — particularly in terms of visitor and non-visitor perceptions of Hadrian's Wall and the visitor experience. Full details of the research are available as an appendix to the Hadrian's Wall Interpretation Framework (Adkins and Holmes 2011).
The existing audiences for Hadrian's Wall are declining, yet the pool of potential visitors is large. A study by ERA (2004) found that 4.2 million people live within 40 miles or an hour's drive of Hadrian's Wall, 85% of whom are in North East England. A further 1.9 million live within 80 miles. Furthermore, some 5 million tourists, 4.4 million of whom are from the UK, stay within 40 miles of Hadrian's Wall each year. Yet despite being less than an hour's drive away, the majority of these potential visitors choose to visit other places instead.