logo Walking Britain

Northumberland Walk
Hadrian's Wall from Steel Rigg

Nat Park - Northumberland

County/Area - Northumberland County

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 8.0 miles / 13 km

Ascent - 1250 feet / 379 metres

Time - 5 hours 20 minutes

Grade - moderate

Start - OS grid reference NY750676
Lat 55.002336 // Long -2.392362
Postcode NE47 7AW (approx. location only)

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Hadrian's Wall from Steel Rigg Photo from the walk - Hadrian's Wall from Steel Rigg Photo from the walk - Hadrian's Wall from Steel Rigg Photo from the walk - Hadrian's Wall from Steel Rigg Photo from the walk - Hadrian's Wall from Steel Rigg
Click thumbnails for larger images.

Hadrian's Wall is one of the great monuments to the Roman Occupation of Britain. Had it not been for subsequent inhabitants of the area using the wall as an easy source of building stone, there might have been at least some sections that retained their original height. However despite this "vandalism", enough remains to give visitors an excellent idea of what this northern outpost of the Roman Empire was actually like.

First of all a warning! This should be an easy walk but it does involve a considerable amount of ascent/descent and requires much more energy than you might think! Apart from the immediate area around Housesteads, which was quite busy, there were few people on the route and you could enjoy the Wall at leisure.

Park at the Steel Rigg car park (grid ref. NY750676). Return to the lane and turn right. After a short way there is a signed footpath on the right and you need to follow this right of way as it crosses fields past Peatrigg and Long Side to reach a path junction just north of Hotbank Farm. Follow the farm track a short way northeast before waymarks lead you on across more fields towards a small plantation (easiest route is around it rather through it as waymarked!) to reach the Wall at King's Wicket (grid ref.NY798694).

With the easiest section behind you, the switchback route now follows the Wall back to Steel Rigg car park for a distance of approximately four miles. This section is some of the best preserved and does benefit from including Vercovicium Fort (Housesteads) en-route. There are many better qualified people to inform you of the details of the Wall but suffice to say it is very impressive. The remains (mostly foundations) at Housesteads are remarkable with much to see and investigate. As you walk perhaps you should try to imagine what it was like to be stationed here in winter after enjoying the Mediterranean warmth of Italy!

Leaving Housesteads the route switchbacks up and down as it follows the most advantageous contours of the natural escarpment. I particularly liked the section along the crest of Hotbank Crags and the final stretch above Crag Lough and along Peel Crags. Both these sections are very enjoyable and enable you to get a feel for the area besides enjoying the history.

In conclusion this walk is a must for anyone visiting Northumberland ... if only history was as interesting at school!

Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers.

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer OL43Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer OL43Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 86Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 86Digital Map1:50kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 87Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 87Digital Map1:50kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

GPS files - right click or option-click the button and choose "Save As..." to download this file.


Recommended Books & eBooks

The Pennine Way

The Pennine WayGuidebook to the Pennine Way National Trail with OS map booklet. The 265 mile route from Edale to Kirk Yetholm takes three weeks to walk and is suitable for fit and experienced long distance walkers. The route crosses the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines National Parks. Includes separate OS 1:25,000 map booklet of the route.
More information

The Pennine Way - the Path, the People, the Journey

The Pennine Way - the Path, the People, the JourneyA portrait of the The Pennine Way, Britain's oldest and best known long-distance footpath, stretching 268 miles from the Peak District to the Scottish Borders. This personal, thoughtful and often humorous story of the path's remarkable history, includes the experiences of walkers and local characters on this exhilarating and complex path.
More information

The National Trails

The National TrailsThis inspirational guidebook looks at each of the UK's 19 National Trails, with information that allows ease of comparison and contrast, inspiring you to find out more and to take up a long-distance challenge. Some Trails are short and easy, others much longer, many have strong themes - they may follow a coastline, or traverse ranges of hills.
More information

Social Media

Follow Walking Britain for the latest news.

Facebook Twitter

Walking - Covid 19 update

Regular updates on how Covid 19 will impact on walking in the UK More info.

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.

Digital Mapping Guide

Digital Mapping Guide - a simple guide of how to start using digital mapping. Includes advice and useful links.