WALK | Walking the Hadrian’s Wall Path | Cumbria | Northumberland | Newcastle
The End of the Romans
A challenging walk across the country from coast to coast
A reminder of the legacy of Roman history on Britain
Put it on your bucket list for this year – it’s there, go walk it!
"...the journey of this trail as it criss-crosses the country with Roman history and breath-taking views for company..."
I could describe it as exhilarating. I could describe it as demanding. There are some invariably uninspiring sections walking alongside the roads. Walking through Newcastle is interesting but tough on the feet. But intercut with all these things is the actual reason you decided to do this walk.
Because it was there. And the history. And the challenge. And the journey across Britain coast to coast is unique and satisfying. When the mud dries on your walking boots, and your socks have been washed of northern mud, you will be left of memories of ancient Rome, of isolated trackways with startling wide skies, of iconic trees and of a delighted inspiration to do something like this again.
Whether you choose to do it all in one like a cake, or in slices (like a cake) its your decision. East to West. West to East. It matters not. Some talk of winds in your face or not. Some talk of rain in your face or not. There is a kind of sense in leaving behind Newcastle for fairer skies and lands; and ending in Bowness on Solway on the other side.
Either which way, you will find a curious mixture of fellow comrades, diverse landscapes and a frequent friendly site of Roman archaeology from years ago. There are opportunities to stop and stay a while in museums and cafes; to find extra fuel and further enlightenment. And those who choose to complete their Passport, locating stamping points is a thrill second to none.
But let’s be clear. Hadrian’s Wall Path is a very popular walking trail. It is an 89-ish mile walk which follows the line of Hadrian’s Wall; constructed by the Roman emperor Hadrian between AD120 and AD128 to protect the northern extreme of the Roman Empire from those marauding Celts. This was a part of the world he wanted to control, but never could. The Celts stayed strong; and wild.
The path crosses the country from coast to coast – from Wallsend, near Newcastle, through the rolling border countryside of Northumberland, continuing on to the historic city of Carlisle and finally to the flat plains of the Solway Coast.
At every mile along the Wall, there is a milecastle with two watchtowers in-between. Although parts of the wall have been plundered for local houses, the central section is very well preserved, as are the various forts and milecastles on the way.
As an older walker, I walked the Hadrian’s Wall path in the company of my daughter. It made for conversation. And for each, there were highlights unique to both.
What began with fish and chips in Tynemouth and a promise of possibilities, continued with iconic Newcastle bridges, a long, long walk into Corbridge (enhanced by quiche and rocky road), Roman forts, the tallest stiles I’ve ever seen and climbed, a nerve-wrecking climb along the ups-and-downs before Sycamore Gap and the iconic tree; and ending with a Thai curry in Carlisle. Wrapped in all of that was a lesson in Roman history, the once in a lifetime view of Hadrian’s Wall out in the wild Northumberland landscape and personal satisfaction in a job well done. Endurance satisfied. Feet sore. But well worth doing, at least once in your lifetime.
Directions and Map |
Start or End of the Walk is officially Bowness-on-Solway or Wallsend in Newcastle but feel free to hop onto the walk at any point to sample the goodness