Hadrian’s Wall Path

By , November 27, 2009 21:16

The Hadrian’s Wall Path is a long distance footpath in the north of England, which runs for 84 miles (134.5 kilometres), from Wallsend on the east coast to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast. The path runs through urban areas, and over moors. For most of its length it runs close to the remains of Hadrian’s Wall.

The walking is easy, though muddy in places. The highest point on the path is only 1,000 feet, and for most of its length the path is more or less flat. Though most of the Wall runs through remote countryside, there are lengthy sections which pass through the cities of Newcastle and Carlisle. The path is well signposted. For most of the walk there are many signs of human activity, and, in summer, many other walkers. Though there are villages and farms near to the path, there are not many places to buy food and drink, especially in the middle sections. The best part of the path is the highest and wildest part of the path between Chollerford and Walton. This is also the part where the Wall is most visible, and there are several important Roman forts.

An itinerary

This itinerary breaks the walk into down into six stages.

  • Wallsend to Heddon-on-the-Wall – this section is 15 miles long.The path starts by the Swan Hunter Ship Yard. Before starting the walk, it is worth visiting the nearby site of the Roman fort of Segedunum. Most of this section runs through urban areas, including through the center of Newcastle upon Tyne, and along the banks of the Tyne. Only the last part, leading to Heddon-on-the-Wall, is in open countryside. There are occasional glimpses of the Wall.
  • Heddon-on-the-Wall to Chollerford – this section is 15.5 miles long.This section is almost entirely through open countryside. The Wall is occasionally visible, and the Vallum (ditch) is frequently visible on the south side.
  • Chollerford to Steel Rigg – this section is 12 miles long.The Roman fort of Chesters is close to the start of this section. The path starts to rise now and the countryside becomes moor, rather than farmland. This is one of the best parts of the walk. Much more of the Wall is visible, and parts of it run along the edge of crags, giving superb views over the open countryside to the north. The path passes the Roman fort at Vercovicium (Housesteads), which has been extensively restored and contains much of interest. The Pennine Way long distance path branches off north just after this.
  • Steel Rigg to Walton – this section is 16.25 miles long.This is another excellent section across open countryside, with the Wall occasionally visible. The Roman fort at Birdoswald has a museum. The Pennine Way long distance path joins the Hadrian’s Wall Path near the village of Greenhead. As the path approaches Walton, Lanercost Priory is a short walk to the south. Much of the Priory was built with stones taken from the Wall.
  • Walton to Carlisle – this section is 11 miles long.This section of the path moves back down into farmland, and crosses the M6 motorway. Part of the path is alongside the River Eden, passing through a pleasant park and over a large footbridge.
  • Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway – this section is 14.75 miles long.The first part of this section is rather boring, but the walking improves once the path gets beyond the outskirts of Carlisle. Most of the path runs alongside either the River Eden or the Solway Firth. There is not much of the Wall to be seen, but the walking is open and pleasant. The path ends in the village of Bowness-on-Solway.

Access

Both Newcastle and Carlisle are on the UK national railway network. The start of the walk at Wallsend can be easily reached by taking a local train from Newcastle to the Wallsend Metro Station, and then walking a short distance. The Tyne Valley railway line runs between Newcastle and Carlisle, with stops at Wylam, Corbridge, Hexham, Haydon Bridge, Bardon Mill and Haltwhistle. For most of its length, the line is not within easy walking distance of the Wall. The Wall can also be easily accessed by car, bus or taxi.

There is a Hadrian’s Wall bus service which runs close to the Wall during the summer. The service runs along the full length of the Wall, but the most frequent services are between Carlisle and Hexham. The bus stops at the main sites along the Wall.

For a list of places of accommodation around the Hadrian’s Wall area, please check out the accommodation category of our business directory.

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