Hadrian’s Wall Path is a popular British National Trail which opened in 2003. It’s located in Northumberland, Tyneside, and Cumbria in northern England and is a total of 84 miles in length. It takes the average hiker about six days to complete the entire trail.
The Cumbria and Northumberland sections are made for walking only while the area in Tyneside offers about 12 miles for cyclists, which represents 14% of the pathway.
(photo credit: bods)
The highest point along Hadrian’s Wall Path is Whinshields Crags, which reaches a total height 1130 feet. The starting/finishing points are the Segedenum Roman Fort, which is located at Wallsend on Tyne as well as Bowness-on-Solway, which sits on the country’s west coast.
You’ll find the landscape of the path runs along the Tyne River and then when you get above Tynedale it turns into arable farmland. This will then change to rough grazing land when you reach the Whin Sill escarpment. As you keep hiking, you’ll enter Cumbria where you’ll find rich, green pastures and when you get to the Solway Estuary you’ll find open salt marsh.
Some of the most popular cultural and historical sites along Hadrian’s Wall Path include the Roman Forts of Segedunum Housesteads, Chesters, and Birdoswald, the bridges on the River Tyne, the Whin Sill escarpment, the Roman earthworks and masonry, and the Solway salt marshes. The Segedunum Roman Fort is presented exceptionally well and the
Birdoswald Roman Fort offers some wonderful views of the surrounding countryside. When you reach the Solway Estuary you’ll find many interesting species of birds that make their home there.
Some of the nearest towns along the way include Carlisle, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Hexham, Haltwhistle, and Brampton. You can reach Newcastle in about three hours by rail from London and 90 minutes from Edinburgh. Carlisle takes about 4.5 hours by train from London and 90 minutes from Edinburgh. There’s a Hadrian’s Wall bus service which covers numerous communities along the path.
The national trail has signposts along the way to let you know exactly where you are. You’ll see some of England’s most beautiful scenery along the route and if you’d like to explore some other local areas there are links to about 80 other shorter hiking trails. This makes Hadrian’s Wall Path an ideal location for short day trips as well as weeklong holidays.
Starting the walk in the east or west will be a personal preference. If you start in the west you’ll begin at the peaceful Solway Estuary and end up in the city. Of course if you start in the east you’ll finish at the estuary. The Hadrian’s Wall name was originally given to a cycleway and it remained when the National Trail was built. There are several spots where you’ll need to cross a road, especially between Chollerford and Heddon-on-the-Wall, so take care there.
There are several places to camp out overnight along the trail. You’ll find that some hikers stay at youth hostels or camping barns, but there are some campgrounds and caravan parks along the way as well. However, wild camping isn’t allowed.