In 1987 UNESCO designated Hadrian's Wall a World Heritage Site and today the Wall and its setting is probably one of the most protected landscapes anywhere in the UK. A priceless jewel in our heritage, it therefore ranks alongside the Pyramids in Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India.
Exploring our history
The advent of the National Trail not only provides wonderful opportunities for walking and exploring our history but also confers obligations and responsibilities because the Wall, almost 2000 years old, needs looking after. Although the Romans built it to last, today it is well into retirement and is sensitive and vulnerable to damage.
Preserving our heritage
Away from Tyneside the National Trail significantly overlies archaeology and the best way of protecting it is to ensure that the path remains as a natural grass surface. In wet weather, in particular during the wet winter months (between November and April) the soils underfoot are waterlogged and the risk of erosion greatest.
This means that in winter overuse of the Trail is discouraged, certainly by large groups of sponsored and challenge walkers (who should always contact the Trail officer for advice). Visitors are encouraged to visit instead the many Roman museum sites, which are more robust and can easily accommodate large numbers, or follow one of the 40 odd corridor walks produced in tandem with the Trail.
The Wall's own country code, Every Footstep Counts
This was devised by the Trail in partnership with all of the projects and organisations associated with the World Heritage Site. It suggests tips on how visitors can help us to look after the Wall for them and future generations.
- Start and finish your walk along the Wall at different places, or follow a circular route. This way there will be half as much wear on the path next to the Wall.
- Use public transport, including the Hadrian's Wall Bus, wherever you can.
- You can support the people living and working in the World Heritage Site by staying nearby whenever you can and using shops, restaurants and pubs in the area.
- Take any litter away with you and never light fires.
- Never climb up or walk on top of Hadrian's Wall.
- During the wet winter months the ground is waterlogged and this is when the risk of damage to the monument is greatest. Instead you could walk one of the alternative circular walks close by.
- Close all gates behind you unless it is clear that the farmer needs the gate to be left open.
- Stick to the path signed from the road with coloured arrows.
- Help to take pressure off the Wall itself by visiting a Roman fort as part of the journey.They all have visitor facilities and will tell you all about the Roman life and times.
- Always keep your dog under close control. If a farm animal chases you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead.
Lumps and Bumps Advice
- When walking on parts of the Trail which have a grass surface, if possible walk side by side rather than single file. This helps to keep the grass surface intact (this is the layer which protects any buried archaeology).
- When the Trail was being designed, the basic rule of thumb was to avoid as many of the lumps and bumps as possible because they could be buried archaeology. So, please avoid walking on the lumps, bumps and grassy ridges.
- Please donít walk or climb on Hadrianís Wall. The legal right of way is on the ground alongside the Wall and there is the added risk of injury from tripping on the uneven surface. Please do your bit to help conserve the Wall for future generations by admiring it from alongside. Thank you.