- The National Trails
- Cleveland Way
- Cotswold Way
- England Coast Path
- Glyndŵr's Way
- Hadrian's Wall Path
- North Downs Way
- Offa's Dyke Path
- Peddars Way / Norfolk Coast Path
- Pembrokeshire Coast Path
- Pennine Bridleway
- Pennine Way
- South Downs Way
- South West Coast Path
- Thames Path
- The Ridgeway
- Yorkshire Wolds Way
Trail Information and FAQs
We have tried to provide answers to the most common questions about the Trail here. If you can't find the information you are looking for please contact us directly and we'll do our best to help.
About the Trail
The Hadrian’s Wall Path is an 84 mile (135 Km) long National Trail stretching coast to coast across northern England, from Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne in the east to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast.
It follows the line of Hadrian’s Wall, along the way passing through some of the most beautiful parts of England - from rolling fields and rugged moorland to the vibrant cities of Newcastle and Carlisle.
You don’t have to do the Trail in one go to enjoy the best it has to offer. There are lots of circular walks based on the Trail for everyone to enjoy.
If you are an experienced walker then we generally recommend allowing 6 or 7 days to complete the whole Trail, although you might want to allow some extra time to visit some of the Roman sites that you pass. They all have museums with interpretive displays and they also provide refreshments.
We don’t hold records. Due to the historical importance and sensitivity of Hadrian’s Wall mass participation events and races are not permitted on the Trail.
Anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to walk the Hadrian’s Wall Path although it is not an easy walk. Some guidebook and magazine articles have described the Trail as "not a challenge walk" but it is more difficult than many people imagine it to be. The 23 mile (37 Km) section between Chollerford and Birdoswald is a switchback with lots of short climbs and descents; it is a bit like walking along the coast. The majority of the path has a natural grass surface; only the Tyneside section is tarmac.
Navigation is not difficult. The route is very clearly marked with the acorn symbol as well as way marking arrows. Even poor visibility in the higher central section should not present too many problems, here the path is alongside either Hadrian’s Wall itself, a modern field wall or the humps and bumps in the ground of archaeological earthworks. It is always a good idea though, to track your progress on your guidebook or map.
Hadrian’s Wall Path is managed by a National Trail Partnership comprising Northumberland National Park Authority, Cumbria and Northumberland County Councils, Newcastle City Council, English Heritage and Natural England. David McGlade, the National Trail Officer, coordinates the Trail and ensures that the physical fabric of the Trail and its associated archaeology, which is the primary gateway for visitors to the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site, is managed in a sustainable way.
Exploring the Trail
The Hadrian’s Wall Path is easily reached by public transport. The seasonal AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus provides an excellent service to many points along the Trail between Newcastle and Carlisle. See the Public Transport page for full details of this and other key public transport links.
There is ample accommodation although quite a bit of it is not immediately adjacent to the Trail. Many accommodation providers provide a drop-off and pick up service, especially those located a distance away from the Trail. See the Plan Your Visit page to find out what is available.
The Wall is popular and accommodation close to the Trail fills up quickly. We strongly recommend that you book in advance. Most people start their walk at a weekend; you might find it easier to book accommodation if you start your walk on a week day.
The provision of camp sites has improved in recent years although some of them are seasonal and there are still a couple of gaps. Campsites are shown on the interactive map on the Plan Your Visit page, you can also see a list of campsites here. Please don’t attempt to wild camp along the Trail. There are also bunk houses, hostels and camping pods that provide alternative low cost accommodation.
Walking for more than a day can be really wonderful, but it can mean you end up carrying a heavy bag. if you don't want to worry about what to pack you can arrange for your bags to be carried to your accommdoation for you. Visit the Baggage Handlers page for details.
If you want help with planning you whole trip, whether you are looking for accommdoation booking or for a guided walk, see the Holiday Planning page for companies that can help you.
We recommend walking between May and October when the ground is normally dry and the risk of erosion and damage to the underlying archaeology is considerably reduced. During this period the accommodation is open, bus services are running and the Trail passport is operating. The Trail and Wall are very popular; if you want to avoid the crowds try to avoid the main school holidays (end of July through August).
It’s up to you but to help you decide consider the following. The official guidebook (Aurum Press) describes the route from east to west; the Cicerone guide by Mark Richards has both east and west bound route notes; and the Rucksack Readers guide describes it from west to east. Read some book reviews on the internet to help you decide which one you prefer.
Prevailing wind? Heading west from Wallsend you will be walking into it but in the summer months it is unlikely to be a concern – you will get a better suntan that way. Also, consider whether you want to finish your walk in the city, or on the quiet Solway estuary which is a great place to reflect on your achievement. Look carefully into the transport arrangements at the end of your walk; some people find that if time is short then it is might be easier to continue on their journey home from Newcastle.
We recommend that you take a map or guidebook with you, or a copy of the walk leaflet if you are doing a shorter walk.
If you are staying on the Trail it is wise to carry a cheque book, not all accommodation providers accept card payments. In the summer you may need midge repellant and sun cream – there are long stretches with little shade. Take plenty of water and just in case, pack a few plasters for your feet. Carry a fully charged mobile phone if you need to arrange pick-up timings with accommodation providers.
Many of the attractions along the way are owned or managed by English Heritage or the National Trust. If you are a member then don’t forget your membership cards.
Away from Newcastle and Carlisle the mobile phone reception varies with some providers being better than others. The higher central section of the Trail has the weakest reception and at times it can be none existent. More and more places, including pubs, cafés and even village halls, provide wifi access.
As a National Trail, the Hadrian’s Wall Path is well signed throughout its length. You will see a distinctive acorn symbol on stiles, gates and signposts. This is the symbol used by all the English and Welsh National Trails. The signs on the fingerposts include the name of the Trail with most including the next destination and distance.
To report a problem with the Trail go to the Report a Problem’page. From here you will need to identify where the problem is on the map and add some details. If you want to be informed about progress to resolve the problem please add your email address.
Trail staff aim to resolve problems as quickly as they can, but some things can appear to take a long time. We operate within a protected landscape, a World Heritage Site, so please be patient if you do not see immediate resolution.
The Solway coast between Dykesfield and Drumburgh, also between Port Carlisle and Bowness-on-Solway, is at sea level. These areas can be affected by tidal flooding. You must be aware of when this is likely to occur and allow sufficient time for a safe walk. Information is provided for your benefit in two ways.
1. Notice boards
Provided for your safety by the National Trail project, located beside the cattle grid at Dykesfield and at the eastern entrance to Bowness-on-Solway village. The boards show the current month’s tidal predictions for the port of Silloth but see advice below because it is necessary to convert the predictions to the Solway section of Trail.
The UK Hydrographic Office provides a free seven day tidal prediction service which you can access at www.ukho.gov.uk/easytide
Select the port of Silloth (this is the nearest port to the Solway coast section of Trail). You are interested in high tides with heights of 9 metres and above which may cause the affected parts of the Trail to flood.
However, because the prediction is for the nearest port of Silloth you will need to do a conversion for the Trail as follows:
- During Greenwich Mean time (also known as winter time) add on one hour.
- During British Summer Time add on two hours.
You will now have a time for high tide adjusted for the Trail. Finally, allow for an hour either side of high tide when the sections affected should be avoided.
Do bear in mind that these are tidal predictions and that many conditions, for example wind speed and atmospheric pressure, can influence the likelihood of the Solway marshes flooding.
Who can enjoy the Trail
The Trail was designated and designed for walkers only. Away from the urban centres the route almost everywhere follows the historic line of Hadrian’s Wall. It is a Scheduled Monument and without careful management could easily be damaged from wear and tear. The Trail is managed to the high standards expected of National Trails with additional safeguards in place because of the archaeological dimension. Hadrian’s Wall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail is a route promoted for walkers only. For conservation reasons when it was designated it was considered that cycles and horses would have too great an impact on the condition of the grass path.
Some parts of the Trail are legally open to horse riders and cyclists (those that run over sections of bridleway, restricted byways, byways or minor roads) but these sections are few and far between. Cyclists are advised to consider using the Route 72 Hadrian’s Cycleway which is never vary far from the Wall within the World Heritage Site. It visits all of the main Wall sites that are accessible by road where most of the main car parks also have secure cycle facilities.
The only useful length of Trail open to cyclists is the twelve mile section through Tyneside (part of Route 72) between Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum and Newburn country park close to edge of the city. It is shown on the Plan Your Visit page.
There is no provision for horse riding along Hadrian’s Wall. Historically the old drove roads ran mostly from north to south, to and from markets, but not between the east and west of the country. The historical legacy is that there is no practicable bridleway provision in the vicinity of the Wall.
Hadrian’s Wall Path is not promoted as a dog friendly Trail. Much of the Trail passes though farmland where stock may be grazing. There are stiles which dogs may need to be lifted over.
You are however legally allowed to take your dog on public rights of way, but please respect farmers and their animals by keeping it on a lead when near livestock.
Cows with calves are very protective and can be aggressive towards dogs. Try to avoid walking close to cows with calves, if you encounter any aggression release your dog, do not try to pick it up.
Apart from the odd section where the Trail is on the public road vehicles are not permitted to use the Trail.
The access along the Trail was designed wherever possible to be as easy going as possible. Since its opening in 2003 several stiles have been replaced with gates although many still remain. The Trail covers a lot of rough and uneven ground, some of it steep, and there are also a lot of stone and timber steps to be negotiated.
What is special about the Trail
The Hadrian’s Wall Path is one of the 15 National Trails in England and Wales. National Trails are designated by the Secretary of State and are administered by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, and managed by the local authorities and National Park Authorities whose area they pass through.
Most National Trails have a dedicated Trail Manager responsible for maintaining the high quality standards on the Trail. National Trails are waymarked with the distinctive “acorn” symbol.
National Trails are special because they pass through some of the best landscapes, and they are managed to a very high standard. Because of this you can be confident that any journey you make along a National Trail will be one of the best you have taken.
Natural England sets quality standards for National Trails and their management. You can find out more on the Natural England website.
The Hadrian’s Wall Path is the only coast-to-coast Trail to follow a World Heritage Site, itself a protected landscape. No other heritage access site in the UK, Europe and possibly beyond is attempting to provide public access to such an extensive array of archaeological remains.
Highlights include the Roman Forts of Segedunum (Wallsend), Chesters, Housesteads, Birdoswald, River Tyne bridges, Whin Sill escarpment; well preserved Roman masonry and earthworks and the Solway salt marshes with their amazing wildlife.
Maps, guides, certificates and merchandise
The official Guide Books for the National Trails are produced by Aurum Press. The guides are regularly updated and all details are checked by the trail managers. The books include sections of Ordnance Survey 1:25,00 maps and are the very best accompaniment to your walk. You can buy them from the National Trails shop.
As well as a guide book we recommend a good quality map and you can buy these in paper or digital format - to browse the maps and books available please visit the Maps and Guide Books page.
Each year between May and October the Trail runs its own very popular Passport scheme. Collecting all seven stamps from the stamping stations along the way entitles you to buy the exclusive purple enamel badge and achievers’ certificate. There are various ways of buying the Passport (which currently costs £2.00) and if you want to obtain it before you travel to the Trail then go to www.trailgiftshop.co.uk
They can otherwise be obtained from: Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend; Once Brewed Tourist Information Centre; Carlisle Tourist information Centre; the King’s Arms in Bowness-on-Solway. If you are a retailer then for wholesale prices please contact National Trail Officer Dave McGlade by emailing email@example.com
A spectacular helicopter flyover DVD of the Trail is available for £2.99 + p&p from the Northumberland National Park Centre Once Brewed.
How to add information to the Trail map
Anyone can add information to the website. We hope that people who have enjoyed the National Trails will want to share their good experiences and that businesses will promote their services by adding information to the map.
You can add information to the map. This includes:
- Points of interest or attractions
- Services - for example shops, pubs, vets, cycle hire shops etc
- Details of your accommodation business
- Events - for example farmers’ markets, village fetes, guided walks
- Information to help horse riders or cyclists such as busy road crossings or water points
To add content you will need to sign up – click the join button in the top right corner. You’ll need a username and an email address. We won’t give your email address to anyone, we’ll only use it if you need a password reminder or if we need to contact you directly. For more information read our data protection policy.
Once you’re signed in you can add information to the map by clicking here.