This is a photo guide to Hadrian's Wall Path which we combined with the Cumbria Way for a two week walk in June 2008. This is a great walk along the historic line of Hadrian's Wall, built in AD 122 to mark the northern boundary of the Roman empire in Britain.

The 84 mile route takes you from Wallsend in the east, to the coast at Bowness on Solway in the west. The sites of several Roman forts lie along the route including Segedunum at Wallsend, Chesters, Housesteads, Vindolanda and Birdoswald.

This page contains full details of all stages, or you can use the links on the right to view each individual stage. We have also collected together details of the accommodation we stayed in. We hope it will be of some use to those who may be planning to do the walk themselves, or encourage others to give it a try.

Please enjoy our report, and sign our guestbook or leave comments.
Rachael & Mark.

Day 1 - Wallsend to Newcastle

Friday 13th June - 6 miles, 2 1/2 hours

We had a good four hour train journey up from Suffolk and arrived to a rather damp and drizzly Newcastle just after 10:00am. After dropping off our bags at the hotel we headed into the city centre for some lunch.

By the time we had finished our lunch the rain had stopped and so we decided to make a start to the walk by catching the metro out to Wallsend and walking back into town.

Segedunum (Strong fort ) lies at the eastern end of Hadrians Wall. We spent a couple of hours exploring the site and the museum. This included a trip up the viewing tower which provided a great view of the fort and its surroundings.

The museum is home to the only reconstructed Roman bath house in Britain which is based on the remains excavated at Chesters further along the wall. It was great to have the archaeology brought to life in this way.

The museum provided a good basis for the history that we would be walking through.

The path begins at the edge of the fort close to the Swan-Hunter shipyard where huge cranes dominate the sky. Nearby is a small piece of the original spur wall which connected the fort to the bank of the river. This was the first and last bit of the wall visible until we reached Heddon on the Wall!

We finally set off along the path just after 3:00pm following the line of an old railway. The sun had broken through and it was now quite a warm pleasant afternoon.

The route was not at all as industrial as it would appear from the map. The path is secluded by hedges and banks covered by masses of wild flowers.

After a couple of miles the path dropped down to join the riverside promenade. The river banks here provide a channel of greenery in towards the city and it was surprisingly quiet.

As we rounded a bend in the river the buildings of Newcastle finally began to emerge into view.

As we approached St Peter's Marina the area became more developed with houses and smart riverside appartments. We stopped at the pub overlooking the marina for a drink.

It wasn't long before the numerous bridges across the Tyne appeared ahead, the first of which was the impressive sweep of the Millenium Bridge.

We passed underneath Tyne Bridge, being careful to avoid walking directly below the huge number of kittiwakes nesting on the ledges high above. It was at this point we ended the walk for today and headed back to our hotel.

For the evening we returned to town and ate at Sabatinis Italian restaurant right next to the Tyne Bridge. Excellent food.

Day 2 - Newcastle to Heddon on the Wall

Saturday 14th June - 12.5 miles, 5 3/4 hours

We returned to the river side at 10:00 to resume our walk. The swing bridge was open as we arrived but nothing was passing through. The whole area was surprisingly quiet, even on the path we were only passed by a few people jogging and cycling.

The view back was dominated by the large number of river crossings packed into such a short distance - the Millenium Bridge, Tyne Bridge, swing bridge and Stephenson's High Level bridge. We passed beneath a further 3 bridges as we left the centre of the city behind.

It was a nice walk along the river, with lots of information points detailing the history of the area. Elswick Quays was once the heart of the industrial empire owned by William Armstrong. Now the waterfront is lined with apartments and offices.

Beyond Elswick the route left the riverside promenade to head inland to join a disused railway line towards Newburn. Much of the route was secluded from surrounding buildings by banks or shrubbery lining the path. A short detour off the track was necessary to cross the busy A1.

This disused railway once formed part of the Wylam Waggonway, which was originally built to carry coal to the riverside by horse drawn waggons. Later it was used by William Hedley to experiment with the steam locomotive, the Wylam Dilly.

The path rejoined the riverside at Newburn bridge, and shortly afterwards entered Tyne Riverside Country Park. The area now had a far more rural feel with trees covering the far bank. The only sign of Ryton town was the Church spire rising above the tree line.

The park was busy with people walking dogs, cycling and generally enjoying the afternoon sunshine. We sat for our lunch at one of the many picnic benches through the park.

As we left the park behind the path became smaller and more quiet. It was a very pleasant stretch with large numbers of wild flowers and several swans on the river. We met our first "Wall Path" walker who was on his last section walking in the opposite direction.

The path finally rejoined with the Wylam Waggonway and we took the short detour further along the track to reach the birthplace of George Stephenson. It was the early steam trains passing by that inspired him to become a railway engineer. Later he became instrumental in providing steam locomotion for the general public.

We had a cup of tea in the garden at the back before viewing the interior of the house which is now owned by the National Trust.

A short walk uphill from the railway brought us to the village of Heddon on the Wall. There were good views back along the Tyne valley to Newcastle.

We headed to our B&B for the night - Tyne Valley View.

We had a good evening meal at the Swan Inn, which had just been refurbished.

It was a lovely sunny evening so we walked through the village to see the exposed section of the Wall.

Day 3 - Heddon on the Wall to Wall

Sunday 15th June - 15.5 miles, 8 hours

After a very filling breakfast we set off from Heddon on the Wall at 9:30. We headed out of the village on the road which runs on top of the line of the wall. Once across the A69 the path dropped into the fields alongside the road and views opened out over the Tyne valley below.

The road follows the line of the wall for several miles. The path remains close, either following the vallum to the south of the road, or the wall ditch to the north.

From Harlow Hill the path joins the north side down to reach Whittle Dean reservoirs. We stopped for a short while in the hide here, but very few birds were to be seen.

At Wall Houses the path skirts around the back of a farm house. Shortly afterwards there is quite a deep section of the wall ditch visible separating the footpath from the road.

We stopped for lunch at Downhill Quarries where the path leaves the road briefly. Here there is a well preserved section of vallum clearly showing the pattern of ditches and mounds that marked the edge of the military zone.

The path continued to follow the line of the vallum. We passed the vague outline of the Roman fort of Onnum and shortly afterwards reached the crossroads with Dere Street, now a busy roundabout where the A68 crosses the route.

There was a brief change in scenery as the path cut through the gorse bushes and trees at the edge of Stanley Plantation.

Crossing the road once more we followed an impressive section of the wall ditch. The path continued along the north side till we entered the now very peaceful meadow which was once site of the Battle of Heavenfield.

From here the path began a gradual descent towards the valley of the North Tyne River. At Low Brunton a large section of wall is visible which shows both the broad wall base and the narrower curtain wall above.

We left the path behind and headed into the village of Wall to reach our accomodation, the Hadrian Hotel. After freshening up in our room we returned to the bar for food.

Day 4 - Wall to Burnhead (Haltwhistle)

Monday 16th June - 17.5 miles, 10 hours

We left the hotel at 9:00, returning to the route just outside the village of Wall. It was a lovely day, warm and sunny, just what we needed on this longer section. We had been looking forward to this day as it also provided the opportunity to visit the forts of Chesters and Housesteads.

As Chesters fort didn’t open until 10:00 we had plenty of time to take a short detour to Brunton Turret. This is one of the best preserved turrets along the wall, with a good section of wall adjoining it.

We crossed the River North Tyne at Chollerford bridge and headed to Chesters fort.

Chesters was well worth the visit. We spent about an hour looking round the site and museum. The museum houses many excavated finds and carved stonework from the length of the wall collected by John Clayton. It was he who initiated the excavation and preservation of the wall by purchasing much of the land between Brunton and Cawfield Crags, and so protecting the wall stones from being reused by farmers for building.

At Chesters fort much of the layout can be clearly seen. The bathhouse near to the river is especially well preserved. Having seen the reconstruction at Segedunum it was easier to picture how this would have once appeared.

It has such a peaceful location by the river it is hard to imagine quite how busy it would have been when the fort was fully active. The line of the wall can be seen stretching away on the far side of the river. A bridge would have stood here, and some remains of the abutments are visible on the banks.

From Chesters the path followed the road uphill to Walwick, climbing out of the valley. We kept to the north side, walking along the line of the wall ditch through a mixture of pastural and hay meadows.

As we reached the boundary of the Northumberland National Park a long stretch of the wall became visible, leading us onwards past Black Carts farm. The path rose and fell gently as the landscape began to change, leaving behind the flatter land.

At Limestone Corner the line of the wall changed direction. Here large chunks of rock which had been cut for building blocks lay abandoned. Across to the north the distant outline of the Cheviot hills could be seen.

We passed through a field with these friendly horses. They seemed to get a lot of exercise from escorting walkers through their section of the path.

A short way further on we skirted around the site of the Roman fort of Brocolitia to reach the Mithraeum, a small temple to the god Mithras. Inside were three reproduced statues, one of which had holes which would have been illuminated from within.

We finally left the road behind as we began to ascend toward Sewingshields Crags. The path started to feel more remote without the sound of traffic. Well preserved remains of a turret can be seen here.

We stopped for our packed lunch near the site of Milecastle 34. Here the wall ditch came to an end, now replaced by the natural defences of Sewingshields Crags.

The path continued upwards through a small wood to the top of Sewingshields Crags passing the clear outline of Milecastle 35. From the summit there were good views out across the moors and over Broomlee Lough . Several cows were stood at in the water enjoying a drink on the hot sunny afternoon.

Turning south the path dropped quickly from the trig point before rising again to Kings Hill and Clew Hill. Looking back along the line of the wall a short section of wall ditch could be seen as it crossed the lower lying land.

We dropped down again to cross knag burn and to reach the northern boundary of Housesteads (Vercovicium) Roman fort. Although it was already 4.30pm we couldn’t pass by without having a good look round. It is a large site with well defined building remains. North gate would have provided a commanding view across the wild open land beyond the wall.

The pillars to support the elevated floors of the granaries were all evident. Information boards are provided around the site explaining the archaeology. The engineering was very advanced one particularly notable building is the communal latrines where a system of water ducts were supplied by a large water tank.

Leaving the fort behind we rejoined the wall where it is possible to follow a short section on top of the wall itself. Housesteads Crag dropped steeply down to our right.

At Milecastle 37, the north gate uniquely retains the lower arch stones on either side.

The next section of path across Hotbanks Crags involved a few more steep rises and falls. This was a particularly enjoyable section with great views all the way back to Sewingshields Crags and Broomlee Lough. As we began to descend once more the view ahead was dominated by Crag Lough and the wooded Highshield crag.

Highshield crag rises high above Crag Lough which appeared very blue in the late afternoon sun.

The path then has one of its steeper descents to reach Sycamore Gap. This famous lone tree stands proud on this exposed section of wall.

The path continues its pattern of steep rises and falls Milecastle 39 “Castle Nick” is situated in one of these drops of the hillside. Peel crags provide a great view of the mile castle and back to Crag lough beyond.

The views along the wall from Peel crags were some of the best along the whole route. The path dropped down at the end of Peel crags to reach the road at Steel Rigg.

The path climbed gently to reach the highest point of the path at Windshield Crags at 345m. From here the gradual descent across Cawfields Crags to the disused quarry was interrupted by several smaller ups and downs.

We arrived at Burnhead bed and breakfast at 7pm after a fantastic days walk. After a quick freshen up we headed the short distance up the road to the Milecastle Inn for a well earned meal and drink!