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Hadrian's Wall & Steel Rigg

Northumberland Walk

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

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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Hadrian's Wall & Steel Rigg
Click image to visit gallery of 5 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!

Other walks nearby

Walk 3404 Hadrian's Wall - Cawfields to Steel Riggeasy/mod3.5 miles
Walk 1677 Peel Crags & Winshield Crags from Vindolandaeasy/mod7.8 miles
Walk 2671 Hotbank Crags & Housesteads from Vindolanda easy5.3 miles
Walk 3331 Cragend & Crow Crags from Housesteads easy/mod8.4 miles
Walk 3343 Hadrian's Wall, Walltown Crags & Aesicaeasy/mod5.0 miles
Walk 2803 Hadrian's Wall and Haughton Commonhard20.0 miles
Walk 1786 Hadrian's Wall & Simonburn circulareasy/mod6.8 miles
Walk 1987 Allendale Town Circulareasy/mod6.6 miles
Walk 1477 Bellingham to Kiln Rigg by Pennine Way Circularmoderate14.3 miles
Walk 1478 Ladyhill to Bellingham circularmoderate16.0 miles

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