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Hadrian's Wall Country

Hadrian's Wall Country - Introduction

The construction of Hadrian's Wall began in 122AD and was completed about six years later. For the best part of three centuries the Wall marked the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. 80 Roman miles in length (73 by today's measurements) the Wall stretched from Segundum at Wallsend on the River Tyne in the east to the shores of the Solway Firth in the west.

Hadrian's Wall Gallery: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Hadrian's Wall as it crosses Cuddy's Crags
Rainbow over Winshield Crags
Sewingshields Crag
The trig point of Winshield Crag, the highest point on Hadrian's Wall
Crag Lough from Hotbank Crags
On Highshield Crags above Crag Lough
Milecastle 39
Greenlee Lough
Sycamore Gap
The Long Stone on Barcombe Hill
Remains of the Roman fort at Housesteads
Vindolanda from Barcombe Hill
Roman Baths at Vindolanda
Barracks at Chesters Roman Fort
The River North Tyne at Chesters

Portions of the original wall still survive today and, together with the remains of the forts and settlements that were constructed on or near the Wall, it is the most popular tourist attraction in the north of England. In 1987 Hadrian's Wall was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2005 it became part of the transnational 'Frontiers of the Roman Empire' Heritage Site which also includes the Antonine Wall in Scotland and the German Lines in Germany.

Historical interest is not just limited to Roman times. The area remained border country long after the Romans left and the region saw regular conflict, first between the medieval kingdoms of England and Scotland and then later amongst the notorious families of the Border Reivers. Standing testament to these turbulent times are the remains of castles such as Prudhoe Castle and Thirlwall Castle and fortified houses and peel towers such as Aydon Castle and Bywell Castle. The stones for the construction of many of these fortresses, as well as Lanercost Priory near Brampton, were taken from the Roman wall.

Almost the entire length of Hadrian's Wall can be followed by the Hadrian's Wall Path. 84 miles in length it became, in 2003, the 15th long distance footpath to become a National Trail. The Hadrian's Wall Path starting as it does on the east coast and finishing at the Solway coast can also be used as an alternative coast-to-coast walk.

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For the purposes of this website Hadrian's Wall Country covers the central and most dramatic section of Hadrian's Wall where it comes into contact with a series of sharp crags created by Whin Sill, a rock formed from dolerite over 295 million years ago. The crags formed by the Whin Sill create a natural barrier between the foothills of the North Pennines immediately to the south and the empty expanse of moorland, common and forest to the north.

At a modest 345m above sea level the highest point on the Wall is Winshield Crags, thus making Hadrian's Wall Country the lowest of the Pennine regions on this website. However, the abundance of historical interest mixed with the drama provided by the Whin Sill produces a combination that makes Hadrian's Wall Country an almost unique place to go walking. Certainly the walk from Housesteads west along a series of crags to Steel Rigg is as fine a few miles of walking as can be had in England.

So far I've only really explored a fairly small area of Hadrian's Wall Country. A weekend camping at Winshields Farm below Winshield Crags with my nephew in the summer of 2013 has reignited my interest in the area. In particular I'd like to visit Walltown Crags and some of the other fort sites including Birdoswald. I've also got my eye on a couple of potential routes that would head north from the wall to visit some of the loughs between the Wall and the fringes of Wark Forest. Finally, the Hadrians Wall Path is high on my to-do list for when I finally get the opportunity to do a long distance walk.

Hadrian's Wall