Exploring the Trail
How long does it take to complete the Trail?
The Trail is 84 mile (135 km) long. 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.
How hard is it?
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.
Top Tips for Enjoying the Trail
How do I get to Hadrian's Wall Path?
Bus and Metro services link Newcastle International Airport and Newcastle Ferry Port to the start of the Trail at Wallsend. It is also possible to catch a bus from the ferry terminal directly to the start of Hadrian’s Wall Path at Wallsend.
Hadrian’s Wall Path is well-connected for visitors arriving by train. Northern Rail operates the Newcastle to Carlisle ‘Tyne Valley’ line with strategic stops at Corbridge, Hexham and Haltwhistle, which connects with the seasonal AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Bus service. The start of the Trail is a 10 minute Metro journey from Newcastle Rail Station.
For rail information please see www.nationalrail.co.uk. For Metro information please visit www.nexus.org.uk/metro
The seasonal AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Bus service is the main route serving Hadrian’s Wall. The bus operates daily from Good Friday until 1st October. Visit www.gonortheast.co.uk/timesfares/ad122 for times and fares.
Both ends of the Trail (Carlisle in the west and Newcastle upon Tyne in the east) have inter-city rail links and National Express coach services.
You can find up-to-date public transport information including a journey planner at www.traveline.info
If you are planning to drive, the A69 between Newcastle and Carlisle runs parallel to Hadrian’s Wall Path (approximately 2-5 miles south) and is the main access route. You can join the A69 from the western side of the country along the M6 from the south and the A74 (M) from Glasgow to Carlisle.
Access from the eastern side of the country is along the A1 (M) to Newcastle, with the option of using the A68 (which links Edinburgh and Darlington) to reach the central part of the Path.
Where can I stay on the Trail?
There is a good choice of accommodation close to the Trail and it can be viewed on the Interactive Map below or on the Create Your Own Trip page here.
Download and print a list of accommodation for each section of the Trail.
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.
Can I camp along the Trail?
There are plenty of campsites along the Trail and they can be viewed on the Interactive Map. If you plan to camp please note it is not legal to wild camp in England or Wales – you will need to stay on official campsites.
Can I get my bags carried or my accommodation booked?
There are several companies that will arrange to move your bags for you, help you plan your trip, or arrange a full package.
View a list of these companies here.
What is the best time of year to walk on the Trail?
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).
What should I take with me?
We recommend that you take a map and/or guidebook with you, or a copy of the walk leaflet if you are doing a shorter walk. You may also find a compass useful.
If you are walking solo you may want to tell somewhere where you are going as there can be mobile black spots along the Trail. Ensure your phone is fully charged before setting off.
Weather in the UK can be changeable so it’s wise to be prepared. You’ll need good footwear, waterproofs and warm layers. Take plenty of water and just in case, pack a few plasters for your feet. In the summer you may need midge repellant and sun cream.
Which direction should I walk it in?
It’s up to you, different guidebooks describe it in different directions however the official guidebook describes the route from east to west.
Prevailing wind? Heading west from Wallsend you will be walking into it but in the summer months it is unlikely to be a concern. 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.
Will I have mobile phone and internet access?
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 Wi-Fi access.
Is there signage on Hadrian's Wall Path?
The UK is unique in having a network of paths that the public can use, this is the Public Rights of Way network. You can see these paths on Ordnance Survey maps.
National Trails are signed with an acorn symbol and/or the Trail name which you will see on stiles, gates and signposts. This is the symbol used by all the English and Welsh National Trails.
As you are walking along the Trail you will also see waymarkers pointing to other paths. You can use the public rights of way network to leave the Trail to explore places of interest, reach your accommodation and find places to eat and drink.
You will often find a coloured arrow on signs which indicates the status of that section of path. The most common are yellow arrows which are footpaths and blue which are bridleways.
Can the tide affect the Trail?
The Solway coast between Dykesfield and Drumburgh, and 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. You can find out more in a number of ways:
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.
Tide times can be found on the BBC website.
Can I download a GPX file?
Leaflets, Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise
Can I get a guidebook and map for the Trail?
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the Trail Gift Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.
Which Ordnance Survey maps cover the Trail?
You can find a list of Ordnance Survey maps for the Trail here.
Can I get a certificate if I complete the Trail?
Completion Certificates and Achievers’ badges are available from the Trail Gift Shop.
Circular & Linear Walks
There are some great walks to enjoy along parts of the Hadrian’s Wall Path national trail. Find the perfect walk for you in the Further Information section.