Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail
One of the newest of our National Trails, Hadrian's Wall Walk was opened officially on 23rd May 2003. The route heads west from Wallsend near Newcastle-upon-Tyne and, for most of its distance follows the line of the Roman Hadrian's Wall across the northern border of England to the Solway Firth. The inauguration of this path marks the first time since the fifth century that it has been possible to walk the line of the wall along a specified route; a humbling thought for those walkers considering the journey. The Wall is a World Heritage Site and the ground a scheduled ancient monument. The Walk passes through the Northumberland National Park and the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so this really is a route with credentials!
The official guide breaks the route into sections starting at Wallsend, Heddon-on-the-Wall, Chollerford, Steel Rigg, Walton, Carlisle and finishing at Bowness-on-Solway, making the walk a six day hike. Apart from the absorbing history of the Wall, Hadrian and the Roman occupation, the journey offers diverse and often spectacular landscapes. Starting amidst the urban bustle of Tyneside the walker is soon transported to wild and beautiful scenery where solitude can be found in which to quietly reflect on nature and human history. The walk finishes in the very different landscape, a wetland of remote saltmarsh and mudflats teeming with wildfowl on the Solway Firth.There has, of course, been a Hadrian's Wall long distance path for a number of years, but it was only possible to follow the wall for part of it's length and the route involved considerable road walking. The new National Trail route follows the wall much more tenaciously and the walk is consequently more rewarding and enjoyable. Some of the original highpoints remain, however, such as Housesteads Fort (Vercovicium), which many historians would argue is the finest example of a Roman fort anywhere in Europe. In this area the wall is at its most impressive and the landscape suitably romantic.
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