PART 1 – GENERAL INFORMATION
To most people Northumberland IS Hadrian’s Wall. There is now a long distance Trail along the wall which offers great walking through some of the best scenery in England.
http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/hadrians … p?PageId=1
I’ll not cover the antiquities here, I’ll deal with them in a separate thread in UK and Overseas Travel. This thread just covers walks. I’ve picked out our favourite walks but there are lots more, and suggestions and details of other peoples walks are welcomed.
While I have tried to find maps and descriptions for all the walks described, it is best to be prepared with a map.
OS Landranger map 87 covers this stretch of the wall.
Although, if you want to go further west than Haltwhistle, you will need map 86 as well.
Alternatively, the Explorer Map (1:25000) covers all of the Wall.
For those wanting to walk one way, in summer the Hadrian’s Wall bus can be used to get you back to your starting point:
http://www.hadrians-wall.org/page.aspx/ … ountry-Bus
You will also need sturdy shoes or boots as stiles and gateways can get very muddy after the rain. You are asked not to walk on the wall itself. Be warned there are a lot of ups and downs in places, but the scenery is dramatic. Listen for the bubbling call of the curlew – the bird shown on all signs for the Northumberland National Park.
PART 2 – WALKING THE WALL
Parking is available at Housesteads, Steel Rigg, Cawfields and Walltown Quarry.
There is excellent walking from the fort along the wall in both directions.
Most people go west following the wall through the trees to the remains of a milecastle. You can continue west over Hotbank Crags to Hotbank and views of Crag Lough to Steel Rigg.
To lose the crowds, go east. Drop down through the east gate to the Nag Burn and pick up the line of the wall. Follow this to the top of Sewing Shields Crags and Sewing Shields Farm beyond. Sewing Shield Crags is one of the legendary burial places of King Arthur. Make sure you know what to do if he wakes …
Steel Rigg car park is signed north at the crossroads by Once Brewed Information Centre. In 2 days, you can see the best of the wall by walking out and back in both directions.
Steel Rigg east to Sewing Shields and back is achievable in a day with time to visit Housesteads. From the car park, follow the wall and scramble up the crags. Then, there is a pleasant gentle walk along the ridge with views of Crag Lough, Greenlee and Broomlea Lochs to the north. After Crag Lough, you drop down to Hotbank Farm, then climb to the top of Hotbank Crags to Housesteads and Sewing Shield beyond.
Going west from Steel Rigg you climb to the top of Winshields, the highest point on the wall at 345m. There is then a roller coaster walk along the ridge to the road crossing at Shield on the Wall and Cawfields.
This stretch is best walked this way as after Winshields you are dropping. Arrange for a lift back or in Summer catch the Hadrians Wall Bus back to Housesteads.
Coming from CAwfields, there are about 6 serious ups and downs before you eventually reach Winshields. Some of these are quite steep and you puff to the top of one only to be greeted by another even bigger rise.
Cawfields car park is signed north from the Milecastle Inn. It is a lovely site next to a flooded quarry with picnic tables. Take note of the signs if you have children. It is deep and the water is cold.
If you are wanting a short walk, then follow the track round the edge of the quarry and climb up to the wall to the milecastle. Walk east along the wall until the road at Shield on the Hill. This is about a mile. Return the same way. The wall is several courses high and there are the remains of turrets. To the south the line of the vallum can be clearly seen.
Few people walk this stretch. Scenically, the walk from Cawfields is not as good, and there is little to be seen of the wall although you do walk through the unexcavated remains of Great Chesters Fort. Look out for the remains of the strong room.
The final stretch along Walltown Crags however is good and makes this a well worthwhile walk. This is the highest part of the wall still standing, up to 2m high. To save the steep climb, turn round when the footpath begins to drop down alongside Walltown Quarry.
If you just want to see this stretch of the wall, turn off B6318 and follow signs to Walltown Quarry car park. Turn right at the crossroads by Carvoran Roman Army Museum and drive about 400m. There is a small car park off the road. Walk up to the wall.
West of here, the wall was built of turf. You can still see the bank in some places and there is the remains of a Roman signal turret but after the adrenaline raising section earlier, this is tame.
Suggestions for Non Roman fans in the area
If you just concentrate on the Romans you will miss lot.
Allen Banks is a delightful area of woodland along the banks of the River Allen which is south of the River South Tyne just east of BArdon Mill. There are footpaths through the woods and a couple of suspension bridges. This is a good walk if the weather isn’t suitable to be on the wall.
There is a map here:
http://www.theaa.com/walks/the-gorgeous … nks-420357
and photos here:
Combine this with a visit to Allendale Town which is unspoilt and a step back in time.
Haltwhistle and the South Tyne Valley.
The weather always seems to be better in the South Tyne valley above Haltwhistle, so if it is a bit dubious for the Wall you may do better here.
Haltwhistle markets itself as the ‘Centre of Britain’ but don’t let that influence you as it is one of our favourite small towns in Northumberland with an industrial heritage. It is a very friendly, welcoming place.
Haltwhistle Tourist Information Centre always has a lot of information about walks. They do a pack of 22 walks but these don’t seem to be downloadable from the web, so this should be your first port of call when you arrive.
http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/defaul … page=10754
There are some ideas for walks here:
Haltwhistle Burn and Hadrian’s Wall
One of our favourite walks is up Haltwhistle Burn to the military road. This is an easy walk on the line of an old tramway and you can still see the remains of a brick and tile works and a coal mine. This is the walk described as “A Walk through Time” and you can download a pdf with information here:
If you want a longer walk this can be combined with “A Lover’s Walk – Haltwhistle Rings 3” which takes you up the burn to Hadrians wall, along the wall to Shield on the hill and then over open moorland back to Haltwhistle. Download a pdf with map here:
Haltwhistle to Bardon Mill Walk
This is a good walk across open countryside. Either return the same way or catch a bus or the train back to Haltwhistle. Download a map and details here:
http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/Hadrians … histle.pdf
Featherstone Castle and the South Tyne Valley
From Haltwhistle, drive to Featherstone Castle (not open) and walk through the park along the river. The brick remains on the grass are all that is left of a World War II Prisoner of War camp. Cross the road and continue on the path along the river to reach Langley Viaduct, which is on the disused Railway line.
Walk across the viaduct for views of the valley. Return the same way. this is a good short walk with lovely views of the river, the castle and the viaduct.
If you are wanting a longer walk in the South Tyne valley then download the pdf with map and details here:
It is a circular walk from Haltwhistle out through open countryside and moorland (wear sturdy shoes or boots as this can be wet) and brings you back from Lambley viaduct on the route described above.
South Tyne trail
The railway line from Haltwhistle to Alston closed in 1976. The top part from Alston has been reopened as the narrow gauge South Tynedale Railway.
The bottom part is now a multiuse trail. From Alston, the trail has now been extended to Tyne Head. We’ve not walked this top bit, but at different times have walked all of the section between Haltwhistle and Alston. There is a pdf with a lot of information here:
Haltwhistle station is worth a visit with its splendid footbridge, water tower, and disused railway bridge over the river.
You can walk from Haltwhistle. There are details here, although the map doesn’t seem to want to load properly:
http://www.visitnortheastengland.com/wh … dtype=serv
Alternatively drive to the old Coanwood station where there is a small car park. From here you can walk along the railway to Lambley viaduct. Lambley Station house is private and the path drops down from the viaduct to the river and then climbs back to rejoin the railway after the station. How far you walk is up to you. There are some pictures here:
There are details of a circular walk with map here:
http://www.nationalparks.gov.uk/we/home … kid=625929
This route takes you out along the Pennine way across open moorland which can be wet. We do this as a linear walk along the railway.
Beyond Burnstones the railway isn’t as interesting to walk. This is a much more interesting walk between Burnstones and Slaggyford. Download map and details here:
Food and B&B along the trail
The Wallace Arms
Between Park Vialage and Coanwood. It is about 300yds up the road from the old Featherstone Station
Kirkstyle Inn at Knarsdale
This is down the road from Burnstones viaduct.
http://www.ramblefest.com/pennine_way/k … rsdale.php
Gilsland and the Irthing Valley
This is in Cumbria, but I’ve included it here as Gilsland is about 15 minutes drive from Haltwhistle.
This is an enjoyable circular walk from Gilsland (park in the lay by by the school) along the River Irthing to Gilsland Spa. The walk through the woods around the spa is nice. look out for the spa well- follow the strong bad egg smell. The first time we did this walk daughter was about 8. She was so impressed by the spa water that she took a bottle back for her teacher, who was less impressed.
For a really isolated experience, take the white road which takes you up the Irthing Valley. This goes through areas of mature forest as well as exposed moorland. Spadeadam rocket research centre is tucked away in here and the area is still an active training area, marked Danger Area on the maps. There are footpaths marked on the map cutting eastwards across open moorland but many of these are not well marked and not easy to follow. Park at the road junction for Lampert and follow the track for good views of the Irthing.
Drive to the end of the road and park by the Forest gate. From here it is a short walk to Churnsike Lodge which gives access to miles and miles of forest roads and some super walking BUT you will need a map if you don’t want to get lost.
The above posts give some ideas for walks in the South Tyne but there are many more equally as good walks.
If anyone else has walked in the area, please do add your favourite walks.
There are more ideas for walks along Hadrian’s Wall here:
Thanks for that very thorough guided tour ESW. I seem to remember going into a temple of Mythras (Roman god) somewhere along the way…