Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall, west of Housesteads.  Photo by Steven Fruismaak, public domain.

Construction plan of Hadrian's Wall, as viewed from the east.    Public domain in the United States.

The Hadrian's Wall Walk is a National Trail in the UK that extends 73 miles (80 Roman miles) from Newcastle upon Tyne on the North Sea to Bowness on Solway on the Irish Sea.  It closely follows the Roman wall that was built starting in 122 AD except in urban areas.  The wall and supporting forts were the northwest frontier of the Roman Empire for almost 300 years.

An estimated three million tons of stone were used to build the wall (8-10 feet thick, 15 feet tall) and its associated milecastles and turrets.  This is about half the stone required to build the Great Pyramid of Giza.   Much of the stone, particularly the higher courses of smaller stones, have been taken to build roads, churches, houses, barns and farm walls near the wall's original route.  In addition to the wall, a steep ditch on the northern side of the wall, and a broader (but still steep sided) ditch called the Vallum were excavated parallel to the wall.  In many areas traces of original ditch and Vallum are still visible.

Much of the trail is through grazing areas for sheep, cattle and horses.  There are many stiles and gates of various styles - up and over ladders, cantilevered steps built into stone walls, and click-clack gates.  There are some very steep parts of the trail, particularly between the approaches to Housesteads and continuing to the Walltown Quarry park and Roman Military Museum.

I used Follow the Camino / One Foot Abroad for lodging and luggage forwarding services.

As walked, with off-trail excursions to lodging and nearby forts, the walk was just over 99 miles in 6 days.

Day 1 - Newcastle upon Tyne to Wylam Station

Day 2 - Wylam Station to Heddon on the Wall to Chollerford

Day 3 - Chollerford to Housesteads, Vindolanda and Bardon Mills

Day 4 - Housesteads to Longbyre

Day 5 - Longbyre to Carlisle

Day 6 - Carlisle to Bowness on Solway