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Hadrian’s Wall as one of the most iconic structures in the world, stretching from The West Coast at Carlisle, to the East Coast terminating in Newcastle. Whilst remnants can be found around Newcastle, the most stunning section lies next to Housesteads Roman Fort a few miles North of Hexham. This section combines the very best of the Roman Wall, from the most well preserved of all the forts, Housesteads to the iconic Sycamore Gap – which unsurprisingly is a Sycamore tree…in a gap within the landscape. This section of the wall follows a spectacular cliff face, with lakes below and makes for a perfect 2/3-hour circular walk starting from Housesteads Fort.

A tourist bus is now running until the end of summer every half hour from Hexham, dropping off at Housesteads, so it is really accessible as a day trip from Newcastle

1. From the car park climb up to Housesteads Fort and then keeping to the left of the Fort join the Hadrian's Wall Trail heading west.

Hadrian's Wall area is one of the richest parts of the country for Roman archaeology. As well as some of the best-preserved remains of the Wall you will be able to see the remains of forts, temporary camps, the Vallum ditch and northern ditch which were all part of the military zone that make up Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site.

2. Pass Hotbank Farm and the earthworks of Milecastle 38 then cross the farm track and switch to the north side of the wall. Head through the woods above Crag Lough and continue to Sycamore Gap. (For a shorter walk, follow the footpath north past the farm at the Milecastle and pick up from step 6) Sycamore Gap is the most photographed section of the wall after featuring in Robin Hood Prince of Theives a few years ago

As you drop down the crag to walk through the Wall at Sycamore Gap, or Robin Hood’s tree as it’s also known after its appearance in the ‘Prince of Thieves’ film, look out for the large lumps of mortar on the face of the stones on the north side of the Wall. This mortar is all that remains of a render that would’ve covered the entire Wall. From here keep following the trail west to Steel Rigg car park.

Leave Steel Rigg car park and head right following the road down the hill for 109yd (100m).

The footpath is signposted on the right going over the stile and along the track and then field path to Hotbank farm. As you pass Peatrigg plantation on your left, the earthworks on the slope to your right are of the original Steel Rigg Farm from the 17th century.

At Hotbank farm keep on the track heading away from the buildings and then east staying north of the plantation. On top of the ridge is the remains of a large cross-shaped stone wall, this was a shelter for livestock from the harsh conditions in these exposed areas. Keep heading east along the farm trail until you reach another plantation.

Just before heading through the plantation. As you leave the plantation head towards the gate through the wall on your south east.

This dip in the crags is called Kings Wicket, or Busy Gap and has a strong association with local folklore, ‘Busy Gap Rogue’ was a term of abuse in 16th-century Newcastle to describe rough Borderers and thieves. From here keep to the north side of the Wall all the way back to Housesteads until you reach your start point at the Wall.

 

 

 

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