A RECONSTRUCTION of a Roman marching fort could become a major tourist attraction and educational facility on the outskirts of Chester.

The project is the brainchild of Paul Harston of Roman Tours and University of Chester archaeology graduate Dean Paton.

It is down to the final three out of more than 1,500 entries in a Barclays competition which could net £50,000 toward the exciting scheme.

Talks are ongoing with parties including the University of Chester and Cheshire West and Chester Council to find an appropriate location for the 2.5-acre fort, plus parking.

Dean said: “The plan is to have ‘Roman classrooms’ inside the fort where children could learn about history and archaeology.

“There could be experimental archaeology, re-enactments, weddings and even plays using the fort as a backdrop.”

Marching forts were used by Roman soldiers on the move but could stand for up to five years. They consist of a wooden palisade on an earth mound surrounded by a ditch.

It is hoped the replica fort can be set in an historical habitat including rare varieties of herbs, trees and crops.

Visitors would be encouraged to visit while the full-sized defensive structure was being built.

Project partner Paul Harston, who organised last weekend’s Roman festival, currently lays on Roman tours for more than 30,000 schoolchildren in Chester every year.

People can support the Roman Fort project in Barclays’ Take One Small Step competition by texting the word ROMAN to 62555 (charged at the standard rate) or by visiting www.takeonesmallstep.co.uk and voting for The Roman Fort Project. Voting closes on June 27.