Hadrian's Wall Path, 3rd: British Walking Guide: planning, places to stay, places to eat; includes 58 large-scale walking mapsby Henry Stedman
Hadrian’s Wall Path, 84 miles from end to end, follows the course of northern Europe’s largest surviving Roman monument, a 2nd-century fortification built – in the border country between England and Scotland – on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian in AD122. Hadrian’s Wall Path is the first National Trail to follow the course of a UNESCO… See more details below
Hadrian’s Wall Path, 84 miles from end to end, follows the course of northern Europe’s largest surviving Roman monument, a 2nd-century fortification built – in the border country between England and Scotland – on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian in AD122. Hadrian’s Wall Path is the first National Trail to follow the course of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is proving an immensely popular walk and in the first 18 months of its opening in 2003 it attracted almost 400,000 walkers. 7 town plans and 58 large-scale walking maps – at just under 1:20,000 – showing route times, places to stay, points of interest and much more Itineraries for all walkers – whether walking the route in its entirety over seven to eight days or sampling the highlights on day walks and short breaks Practical information for all budgets – camping, bunkhouses, hostels, B&Bs, pubs and hotels; Newcastle through to Bowness – where to stay, where to eat, what to see, plus detailed street plans Comprehensive public transport information – for all access points on the Hadrian’s Wall Path. Flora and fauna – four page full color flower guide, plus an illustrated section on local wildlife Green hiking – understanding the local environment and minimizing our impact on it
- Trailblazer Publications
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Third Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 4.70(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.70(d)
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Hadrian's Wall Path, 3rdBritish Walking Guide: planning, places to stay, places to eat; includes 58 large-scale walking maps
By Henry Stedman
Trailblazer PublicationsCopyright © 2011 Henry Stedman
All right reserved.
Just when you think you are at the world’s end, you see a smoke from East to West as far as the eye can turn, and then under it as far as the eye can stretch, houses and temples, shops and theatres, barracks and granaries, trickling along like dice behind always behind one long, low, rising and falling, and hiding and showing line of towers. And that is the Wall! Rudyard Kipling, Puck of Pooks Hill
On May 23, 2003, Britain’s thirteenth and newest National Trail was opened in the border country between England and Scotland. The trail, Hadrian’s Wall Path, follows the course of northern Europe’s largest surviving Roman monument, a second-century fortification built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian in AD122. The Wall marked the northern limits of Hadrian’s empire an empire that stretched for 3000 miles across Europe and the Mediterranean all the way to the Euphrates.
To say that creating such a path had been problematic would be something of an understatement. Measuring 84 miles (135km) from end to end, this was the first National Trail to follow the course of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As such, every time a fencepost, signpost or waymark was driven into the ground, an archaeologist had to be present to ensure that the integrity of the Wall was not in any way compromised. To give you an indication of just how careful they had to be, it took ten years before the Hadrian’s Wall Path was finally opened to the public. By comparison, it had taken the second and sixth legions of the Roman army only six years to build the actual Wall itself!
However, ask any of the hundreds of thousands of people who have walked along at least part of the trail since its inception and I’m sure they’ll all tell you it was worth it. For the first time in 1600 years, since the Romans packed away their togas and scuttled off back to the motherland, it is now possible to follow in the sandal-steps of those who built it because the trail itself never diverts from the course of the Roman’s barrier by more than a few hundred metres. And, though there’s only about ten miles of the Wall left and it rarely rises to more than half its original height, it or at least the route it would have taken makes for a fascinating trekking companion. Punctuated by forts, milecastles and turrets spaced evenly along its length, the Wall snaked over moor and down dale through Northumberland and Cumbria, between the Roman fort of Segedunum (at the appropriately named Newcastle suburb of Wallsend) in the east and the mouth of the Solway River in the west. It’s an incredible feat of engineering, best appreciated in the section from Housesteads to Cawfield Quarry where the landscape is so bleak and wild that human habitation and farming never really took a hold here. It is here that the Wall stands most intact, caressing the bumps and hollows of the undulating countryside as integral a part of the scenery now as the whinstone cliffs on which it is built. Here, too, are some of the best preserved fortresses, from the vast archaeological trove at Vindolanda, set just off the Wall to the south, to the subtle charms at Birdoswald and the beautifully situated Housesteads itself.
After the Romans departed the Wall suffered from the repeated depredations of the local landowners, who came to view this unique, awe-inspiring work of military architecture as little more than a convenient source of ready-worked stones. Yet even where the destruction of the Wall was total, its legacy continued to echo through the ages. Firstly, in the names of the villages that lay along the route: Wallsend; Wallend; Wallhouses, Walton, Wall village and Oldwall are just some of the place names that celebrate the presence of the Wall even though there’s no evidence of the Wall left in any of these places!
Furthermore, the Wall is also present in many of the major constructions built after the Romans left. The priories and abbeys that lie just off the Wall, such as those at Hexham and Lanercost; the Norman castles at Carlisle and Newcastle; the Military Road which we follow for part of the walk; the stronghouses at Thirlwall and Drumburgh. All beautiful, historically important buildings; and all of them, deliciously, incorporate stones from the Wall within their fabric.
But this is not just a walk for historians. All around the Wall is scenery of breathtaking beauty, from the sophisticated cityscape of Newcastle to the wild, wind-blasted moors of Northumberland, the pastoral delights of Cumbria’s appropriately named River Eden and the serenity of Bowness-of-Solway, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a haven for birdwatchers and those seeking peaceful solitude.
Yet perhaps the best feature about the Wall is that all of its treasures are accessible to anyone with enough get-up-and-go to leave their armchair. The path itself is regarded as one of the easiest National Trails, a week-long romp on a green sward (ie a grassy) path through gently voluptuous countryside with the highest point, Green Slacks, just 345m above sea level. The waymarking is good and, with a Wall on one side and a road a little distance away on the other, it’s very difficult to lose one’s way. And then there are the facilities, from lively pubs to cosy B&Bs, friendly, well-equipped hostels and idyllic little tearooms. It’s just lovely. And for those for whom completing the entire trail is over-ambitious, there’s always the Hadrian’s Wall bus, a special tourist service complete with guide that travels along the length of the trail daily. With a little planning, you can arrange a simple stroll along a short section of the trail, maybe take in a fort or museum on the way, then catch the bus back to 'civilization’. While for those who prefer not to follow any officially recognized National Trail, the path also connects to 43 other walks, details of which are readily available from one of the half-dozen or so tourist offices serving the trail.
The accessibility and popularity of the walk are borne out by the statistics. By September 2004, over 400,000 walkers had used the new trail, including 6,264 attempting the walk in its entirety. And of those, twice as many over-65s had walked the trail than the 18-25 age group.
So while the Wall no longer defines the border between Scotland and England (90% of Northumberland, an English county, actually lies to the north of the Wall and at no point does it actually coincide with the modern Anglo-Scottish border), it neverthless remains an inspiring place and a monument to the breathtaking ambition of both Rome and Hadrian, its youthful, dynamic emperor.
And this new trail is a great way to appreciate it.
About this book
This guidebook contains all the information you need. The hard work has been done for you so you can plan your trip from home without the usual pile of books, maps, guides and tourist brochures. Pre-departure planning information includes:
· Descriptions of all standards of accommodation from campsites to luxurious guesthouses
· Walking companies if you want an organized tour
· A number of suggested itineraries for all types of walkers
· Answers to all your questions: when to go, degree of difficulty, what to pack and how much will the whole walking holiday cost me?
When you’re all packed and ready to go, there’s detailed information to get you to and from the Hadrian’s Wall Path and 58 detailed maps and town plans to help you find your way along it. The route guide section includes:
· Walking times
· Reviews of campsites, bunkhouses, hostels, B&Bs and guesthouses
· Cafés, pubs, tearooms, takeaways, restaurants and shops for buying supplies
· Rail, bus and taxi information for all the villages and towns along the path
· Street maps of the main towns both on and off the Wall: Newcastle, Carlisle, Corbridge, Hexham, Haltwhistle and Brampton
· Historical, cultural and geographical background information
Excerpted from Hadrian's Wall Path, 3rd by Henry Stedman Copyright © 2011 by Henry Stedman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Henry Stedman is a hiker of considerable experience, having trekked in many parts of Europe, Asia and Africa. He has been writing guidebooks for more than a decade.
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