Hadrian's Wall Path

The Hadrian’s Wall Path is a long-distance footpath in the north of England, which became the 15th National Trail in 2003. It runs for 84 mi (135 km), from Wallsend on the east coast of England to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast.[1] For most of its length it is close to the remains of Hadrian's Wall, the defensive wall built by the Romans on the northern border of their empire. This is now recognised as part of the "Frontiers of the Roman Empire" World Heritage Site.

Hadrian's Wall Path
Hadrians wall craigs
Crag Lough, near Steel Rigg on the Path. Photo taken from Hotbank Crags.
Length84 mi (135 km)
LocationEngland: Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, Cumbria
DesignationNational Trail
Highest point345 m (1,132 ft), Whinshields Crags
Hiking details
SightsHadrian's Wall World Heritage Site

Path description

Though muddy in places, the walking is relatively easy, as the highest point on the path is only 345 m (1130 ft) high[1] and for much of its length the path is more or less flat. Most of the Wall runs through remote countryside but there are sections that pass through the cities and suburbs of Newcastle and Carlisle. The path is well signposted. For most of the walk there are many signs of human activity, and many other walkers in summer. 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 section between Chollerford and Walton is the highest and wildest part of the path; it is also where the Wall is most visible, and includes several important Roman forts.

This itinerary breaks the 84-mile (135 km) walk into six reasonable stages, and is presented from east to west (against the prevailing wind).

The path starts at the Roman fort and Museum of Segedunum which sets the historical context for the Wall. Segedunum is also the first / last of the National Trail's Walkers' Passport stamping stations. Most of this section runs through urban areas, including through the centre 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.

This section is almost entirely through open countryside. The Wall is occasionally visible and the Vallum (earthwork) is frequently visible on the south side.

Milecastle 39 on Hadrian's Wall 2
The remains of Milecastle 39 (Castle Nick), a short distance east of Steel Rigg and Peel Crags

The Roman fort of Chesters is close to the start of this section. The path starts to rise now and the countryside becomes moorland, rather than farmland. 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 consolidated and contains much of interest. For very good conservation reasons, nowhere along the route does Trail follow the crest of Hadrian's Wall but in the small wood on the Whin Sill escarpment at Housesteads there is a short section of Public Right of Way, approximately 150 metres, which is actually on the Wall. The Trail follows a parallel path in the wood but visitors are allowed, if they choose, to walk on the Wall. The Pennine Way National Trail branches off northwards a little to the west of Milecastle 37.

  • Steel Rigg to Walton - 16.25 miles (26 km) long.

This is another 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 – 11 miles (18 km) long.

In this section the path returns to 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.

The first part of this section is rather bare 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 nothing of the Wall to be seen but the walking is open and pleasant. The path ends in the village of Bowness-on-Solway.


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 Wallsend Metro Station, which is the only station in the world with bilingual notices in English and Latin. From the station walk in the opposite direction to the shops along Station Road towards the tall tower of Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum. The Tyne Valley railway line runs between Newcastle and Carlisle, with stops at Wylam, Prudhoe, Corbridge, Hexham, Haydon Bridge, Bardon Mill, Haltwhistle, Brampton (1 mile from the town of Brampton) and Wetherall. For most of its length, the line is not within easy walking distance of the Wall. Northumberland National Park operates paying car parks at Brocolitia, Housesteads, Steel Rigg, the Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre, Cawfields quarry and Walltown quarry. Bowness-on-Solway does not have a car park and anyone thinking of leaving their car in Wallsend while they walk the Trail are advised to consider leaving their car in the long stay car park at Newcastle airport.

There is a Hadrian's Wall bus (service AD122) which runs close to the central section of the Wall during the summer. The bus runs between Hexham, Chesters, Housesteads, Once Brewed, Vindolanda, Walltown and Haltwhistle approximately once an hour 0900 – 1700. The service runs daily from Easter until September.

See also


  1. ^ a b "National Trails: Hadrian's Wall". The National Trails Website. Natural England. Retrieved 10 April 2010.
  • Hadrian's Wall Path by Anthony Burton. Published by Aurum Press in 2003. ISBN 1-85410-893-X.

Further reading

  • Walk Hadrian's Wall: The 84 Mile Route from Bowness-on-Solway to Wallsend (2007) by Brian Smailes. Challenge Publications ISBN 978-1-903568-40-8

External links

Coordinates: 55°01′53″N 2°07′40″W / 55.03137°N 2.12791°W


Bowness-on-Solway is a village of fewer than 100 houses on the Solway Firth separating England and Scotland. The civil parish had a population of 1,126 at the 2011 census. It is in North-West Cumbria to the west of Carlisle on the English side. The western end of Hadrian's Wall is a notable tourist attraction. The west end of the Hadrian's Wall path is marked by a pavilion on the small coastal cliff at Bowness. Other attractions are the beaches and wading birds.

The village is part of the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


Crosby-on-Eden is the combined name for two small villages, High Crosby and Low Crosby, within the civil parish of Stanwix Rural near Carlisle, Cumbria, England.

The villages are by the River Eden north-east of Carlisle, joined by a road that used to be the line of the Stanegate Roman road. It has been thought on spacing grounds that there might have been a small Roman fort in Crosby-on-Eden, as part of the so-called Stanegate frontier which preceded Hadrian's Wall, but if such a fort exists it has not yet been found. The Stanegate ran in a deep cutting still visible next to the road running west from High Crosby, and it has been suggested that part of the reason for the cutting was to produce stone for building work.The line of Hadrian's Wall passes a mile or so to the north, and the Hadrian's Wall Path follows the Stanegate through the villages.

In Low Crosby is the Church of St John the Evangelist, a rebuilt church by R.H. Billings in the Gothic style. A grange was built here and named Crosby. High Crosby is a half mile east of Low Crosby, and located in the village is Crosby House, a former mansion that is now a hotel.

The villages are bypassed by the A689 road which used to be numbered as part of the B6264 and follows the route of General Wade's Military Road.

Crosby-on-Eden has a primary school, Crosby-on-Eden C. of E. School, built in 1844.

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall (Latin: Vallum Aelium), also called the Roman Wall, Picts' Wall, or Vallum Hadriani in Latin, was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea, and was the northern limit of the Roman Empire, immediately north of which were the lands of the northern Ancient Britons, including the Picts.

It had a stone base and a stone wall. There were milecastles with two turrets in between. There was a fort about every five Roman miles. From north to south, the wall comprised a ditch, wall, military way and vallum, another ditch with adjoining mounds. It is thought the milecastles were staffed with static garrisons, whereas the forts had fighting garrisons of infantry and cavalry. In addition to the wall's defensive military role, its gates may have been customs posts.A significant portion of the wall still stands and can be followed on foot along the adjoining Hadrian's Wall Path. The largest Roman archaeological feature anywhere, it runs a total of 73 miles (117.5 kilometres) in northern England. Regarded as a British cultural icon, Hadrian's Wall is one of Britain's major ancient tourist attractions. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. In comparison, the Antonine Wall, thought by some to be based on Hadrian's wall (the Gillam hypothesis), was not declared a World Heritage site until 2008.It is a common misconception that Hadrian's Wall marks the boundary between England and Scotland. In fact Hadrian's Wall lies entirely within England and has never formed the Anglo-Scottish border. While it is less than 0.6 mi (1.0 km) south of the border with Scotland in the west at Bowness-on-Solway, in the east at Wallsend it is as much as 68 miles (109 km) away.

Limestone Corner

Limestone Corner is an area of Hadrian's Wall (and associated defences) at its most northerly point, in present-day northern England. It represents the most northerly point of the Roman Empire, outside the two periods during which the Antonine Wall was occupied by the Roman military. Other notable features at Limestone Corner are the wall ditch at this point, which was never completely excavated, a Roman camp and the site of Milecastle 30. Also present is a trig point. The B6318 Military Road also runs through Limestone Corner, as does the Military Way, serving Milecastle 30. The Military Way is visible on the ground at this point, the most eastern point where this is the case.The name Limestone Corner is not an official geographical name for the area and does not appear on official maps; the hill on which it stands is known as Teppermoor Hill. 'Limestone Corner' has become accepted through extensive usage.

Milecastle 38

Milecastle 38 (Hotbank) was a milecastle on Hadrian's Wall in the vicinity of Hotbank Farm, (grid reference NY77276813). It is notable for the joint inscription bearing the names of the emperor Hadrian and Aulus Platorius Nepos, the governor of Brittania at the time the Wall was built.

Milecastle 40

Milecastle 40 (Winshields) was a milecastle on Hadrian's Wall (grid reference NY74566758).

Milecastle 41

Milecastle 41 (Melkridge) was a milecastle on Hadrian's Wall (grid reference NY73026705).

Milecastle 42

Milecastle 42 (Cawfields) is a milecastle on Hadrian's Wall (grid reference NY7157466692).

Milecastle 43

Milecastle 43 (Great Chesters) was a milecastle on Hadrian's Wall (grid reference NY70356684). It was obliterated when the fort at Great Chesters (Aesica) was built.

Milecastle 45

Milecastle 45 (Walltown) was a milecastle on Hadrian's Wall (grid reference NY67716657).

Milecastle 46

Milecastle 46 (Carvoran) was a milecastle on Hadrian's Wall (grid reference NY66466601).

Milecastle 50TW

Milecastle 50TW (High House) was a milecastle on the Turf Wall section of Hadrian's Wall (grid reference NY60716583). The milecastle is located close to the Birdoswald Roman Fort and is unique in that it was not replaced by a stone milecastle when the turf wall was upgraded to stone, the replacement wall instead running some 200m to the north. The milecastle was partially demolished by the Romans after it was abandoned. The milecastle was excavated in 1934 and several Roman rubbish pits discovered. The remains of the two turrets associated with this milecastle (which were demolished when the turf wall was abandoned) have also been located. As the turf walls lies some distance from the stone wall the sites are no accessible from the Hadrian's Wall Path.

Milecastle 58

Milecastle 58 (Newtown) was a milecastle on Hadrian's Wall (grid reference NY49786258).

Milecastle 60

Milecastle 60 (High Strand) was one of a series of Milecastles or small fortlets built at intervals of approximately one Roman mile along Hadrian's Wall (grid reference NY47196140).

Milecastle 61

Milecastle 61 (Wallhead) was a milecastle on Hadrian's Wall (grid reference NY45586088).

Milecastle 66

Milecastle 66 (Stanwix Bank) was a milecastle on Hadrian's Wall (grid reference NY39735678).

National Trails

National Trails are long distance footpaths and bridleways in England and Wales. They are administered by Natural England, a statutory agency of the UK government, and Natural Resources Wales (successor body to the Countryside Council for Wales), a Welsh Government-sponsored body.

National Trails are marked with an acorn symbol along the route.

In Scotland, the equivalent trails are called Scotland's Great Trails and are administered by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Roman Heritage Way

The Roman Heritage Way is a long-distance path in England and Scotland. It covers parts of Cumbria, Northumberland, the Scottish Borders, and Tyneside.

The Way was developed from sections of the Hadrian's Wall Path, the Pennine Way, Dere Street, the St. Cuthbert's Way, and a set of Core Paths around Newtown St Boswells and Melrose.

Three main options present themselves to the walker:

Segedunum to Trimontium (Wallsend to Melrose)

Maia Fort to Trimontium (Bowness-on-Solway to Melrose)

Segedunum to Maia Fort (Newcastle to Bowness-on-Solway): Complete length of Hadrian's wall, with a range of Roman forts, museums and exhibitions.

Waterhead, Carlisle

Waterhead is a civil parish in Carlisle district, Cumbria, England. At the 2011 census it had a population of 130.The east and south boundaries of the parish are largely formed by the River Irthing. The area of the parish is 1,838.88 hectares (7.1000 sq mi). Part of the village of Gilsland lies in the parish, while some of the village is in Northumberland.A section of Hadrian's Wall, with Birdoswald Roman fort, and the related Hadrian's Wall Path both lie within the parish, near its southern border.

There is a parish council, the lowest tier of local government.The B6318 road from Langholm to Gilsland passes through the parish.

National Trails
(England and Wales)
Scotland's Great Trails
Long-distance path
(Northern Ireland)


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