Hadrian's Wall Walk, England

Walk with the Romans - 135 km, 12 days

A section of the wall on Hadrian's Wall WalkBRITAIN'S HADRIAN'S WALL PATH NATIONAL TRAIL is open to walkers, cyclists and horse riders. It runs for about 135 km between Newcastle-on-Tyne and Bowness-on-Solway. The route follows the wall that Hadrian had built in 122 AD.

MARK RICHARDS wrote one of the original guidebooks ‘Hadrian's Wall Path’, which is a useful illustrated booklet, with line-drawings, detailed maps and route directions.

HADRIAN'S WALL PATH ROUTE is 135 km long and for those contemplating this hiking trail for their walking holiday in England, a certain amount of planning is required. Although the path is well marked, always take a guidebook, map and compass with you. The English weather is unpredictable and needs to be catered for.

The Mithraeum near Brocolita FortHISTORY: In 122AD Roman Emperor Hadrian initiated the construction of a massive wall. According to Historia Augusta the wall was built "to separate Romans from barbarians". It deterred attacks on Roman territory and controlled cross border trade and immigration. Unlike the Germanic limes, built of wood palisades, the lack of suitable wood in the area required a stone construction. The western third of the wall, from modern-day Carlisle to the River Irthing, was built of turf because of the lack of suitable building stone. The lack of suitable stone in the area also led to the narrowing of the width of the wall, from the original 12 feet to 7.

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE WALK: Hadrian's Wall Path: Starting from Roman and medieval Necastle, the 135 km trail wends its way westwards and ends at Bowness-on-Solway, the site of the Roman fort of Maia, the most remote of the forts. Most of the hiking trail provides fairly easy walking, there are some stiffer sections across Sewingshields Crags. Hadrian's Wall Path attracts walkers and visitors from around the globe seeking to experience Roman life on the edge of the Empire.

Walking Route of Hadrian's Wall Walk. MAP courtesy of Mickledore Travel www.mickledore.co.ukSOME HIGHLIGHTS: There are so many places to visit on this walk including: Newcastle's bridges, Chesters Roman complex near Chollerford, Housteads Roman fort, Birdoswald, Limestone Corner, Steel Rigg, Carlisle and Burgh-by-Sands.

WALKING ROUTE PLANNER: The number of days required depends on how fit and how quickly or leisurely you want your walking holiday to be. Work out the average number of kilometres you are prepared to do in a day, taking into account the landscape and the town or village in which you will end your day. It's also nice to plan on arriving a little earlier in a village if there are interesting attractions you may like to visit, such as in Wall (close to Chesters) or Carlisle (Carlisle Castle). We did the walk in 12 days, however it's also possible to do it in about 9 days.

LUGGAGE TRANSFER: This efficient service is readily available and can be organized through a number of tour operators on the ‘self-guided’ itineraries. It is usually included as part of the escorted and self-guided itineraries.

YOUR HADRIAN'S WALL ACCOMMODATION: This is usually in B&Bs or inns and should be booked in advance.

FOOD: Mostly good quality traditional English food is served up at B&Bs and village inns and there are wide choices in their menu. Cider and ale are common. Most B&B owners can cater for vegetarians or people with other food preferences if given sufficient notice.

WHEN TO GO: The northern Spring or Autumn seasons are recommended as accommodation is easier to obtain and the tourist numbers are lower.

WALKING GEAR: Good walking boots and socks are critical. Your shoes should have been broken in. Also important is what rain gear to take. Make sure it’s made from a breathable material.


ITINERARY for Hadrian's Wall - 135 km

The following is an outline of the 12-day walk itinerary that we chose. We decided on this itinerary because of the reasonable distances and the available accommodation.

  • Where to Start: Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.
  • How to get there: There is a fast a frequent rail service between London Kings Cross and Newcastle (about 3 hours). From the railway station take the Metro to Wallsend.
Walking itinerary: 12 days (we recommend an extra day at Carlisle)
  • Day 1. Travel to Wallsend, a suburb of Newcastle-on-Tyne. You can easily spend the afternoon exploring this medieval city.
  • Day 2. Wallsend to Newburn (18.5km). After visiting the Roman Fortress of Segedunum, this is a walk along a great river - the Tyne.
  • Day 3. Newburn to East Wallhouses (15km).
  • Day 4. East Wallhouses to Wall (13km).
  • Day 5. Wall to Housesteads (16km).
  • Day 6. Housesteads to Greenhead (15km).
  • Day 7. Greenhead to Haytongate (12km).
  • Day 8. Haytongate to Crosby-on-Eden (12km).
  • Day 9. Crosby-on-Eden to Carlisle (8km).
  • Day 10. Rest Day in Carlisle. Visit the award winning Tullie House Museum, the 12th century cathedral, the half-timbered guildhall that houses a local history museum and the vast medieval castle, with its ancient chambers, stairways and the dungeons that contain the infamous 'licking stones'.
  • Day 11. Carlisle to Burgh-by-Sands (11km).
  • Day 12. Burgh-by-Sands to Bowness-on-Solway (12km).
  • How to get back from Bowness-on-Solway: Bus from Bowness-on-Solway to Carlisle railway station (25 minutes). Train to London Kings Cross (5 hours 30 minutes).
Our Take:
This is a marvelous 135 km journey through the Borders Region of England. Take time to visit the Roman museums and centres. You will get an amazing sense of walking with the Roman legions. Be prepared for rain and the wonderful walking. The Way is usually walked from West to East, however because of the prevailing winds you may like to consider doing the walk in the reverse direction from Bowness to Newcastle.