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Hadrian's Wall Path

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If you're looking for a trail which combines stunning and varied scenery with a strong historical theme then look no further than Hadrian's Wall Path. Built by the Roman emperor Hadrian in the second century the wall was constructed in order to defend the northern frontier of the Roman Empire in Britain.     

Hadrian's Wall Path

The trail follows the full length of the wall and stretches 84 miles across the entire width of northern England from Newcastle on the east coast to the salt marshes at Bowness in the west. Whether to begin at Bowness on the Solway Firth in the west, or Newcastle in the east is a matter of personal choice. Walking east will give you the wind behind you but walking west gives you a beautiful finish to the walk. Convention, and most guidebooks, seems to support the latter.

Beginning at Wallsend in the heart of Newcastle the first section from the museum at Segedenum is a flat and easy walk along roads and disused railway lines. It's not until it leaves the bank of the River Tyne and climbs up to Heddon on the Wall that the trail opens up into a more rural landscape and the wall proper is joined. A long stretch of arable farmland follows above Tynedale as the route heads resolutely west to the river crossing over the North Tyne at the Roman fort at Chesters.

From this point the terrain and landscape changes significantly and a long but steady climb takes the route up onto the craggy escarpment of the Whin Sill with its rough grazing land and isolated sheep. Fantastic views to both north and south open up here; north over the great coniferous forests of Northumberland Park and Kielder and south over the rich pasturelands and settlements of the Tyne valley.    

Just a little further on and the trail arrives at another fantastic Roman fort at Housesteads overlooking Broomlee and Greenlee loughs. Soon the Pennine Way joins from the north and we pass over Crag Lough and past a tree made famous in the film 'Robin Hood' before reaching the highest point of the route at Windshields Crags.

A deviation to the fort and museum at Vindolanda is worthwhile here if you have the time. Soon the Whin Sill ends and the trail loses height into Greenhead with the ruined castle at Thirlwall being worth a visit. Pastureland is once more the order of the day and the path soon crosses the River Irthing over an ancient Roman bridge with a steep climb leading to a well-earned rest at the fort of Birdoswald. From here, the trail keeps to high ground above the river valley before gradually losing height towards the River Eden. The river itself is followed through the lovely city of Carlisle and onward, out past the flat salt marshes of the Solway estuary to the trail's end at Bowness-on-Solway.     


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