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Brace yourself for Hadrian's Wall

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

The weather can be changeable so come prepared with walking boots and waterproofs. If the sun is shining you will be rewarded with some of the finest and most dramatic views in the land.

Turret 39a - looking towards the (hidden) Sycamore Gap and Crag Lough lake (just visible).

Hadrian's Wall

It was around 73 miles long and stretched across England from west to east. So how can I describe it as a piece of HIDDEN HISTORY?

Building started almost 2,000 years ago by the Romans during the reign of Emperor Hadrian and despite doing a great job as a wall for 300 years a lot of it fell into disrepair once the Romans left Britain and the shaped stones that created the outside of the wall were used by locals to build other structures.

The incredible thing is that so much of it can still be seen today - even on the outskirts of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. There are some great places to visit where the remains of the wall have been conserved and are under the care of the National Trust and English Heritage. Take a look at CHESTERS, HOUSETEADS and VINDOLANDA.

I can recommend a great place to eat whilst you are exploring the wall. The Bowes Hotel in Bardon Mill NE47 7HU is a village pub with letting rooms. I found this place by chance and was delighted and amazed by the quality of the THAI food that was on offer in addition to the more traditional menu. Prepared by the talented Thai chef and served in a bright contemporary open-plan bar/dining area, the Bowes makes a refreshing change for a lunch stop.

Before setting off to explore and walk along the most dramatic section of the wall, make a visit to THE SILL. This discovery centre is housed in a state-of-the-art building that sits comfortably in its surroundings and is named after the nearby geological feature the Great Whin Sill. Its aim is to help people connect with the landscape and highlight the importance of its care. There's also a Youth Hostel and a 90-seat cafe.

You can either leave your vehicle in the car park (pay on exit) or drive from here to the STEEL RIGG car park (NE47 7AN), also pay & display. A well marked footpath leads down to the wall, with some dramatic views to the rocky outcrop of the Sill. It's a steep climb from here up to the ridge and when you have caught your breath you can enjoy a short walk of just over half a mile to the spot known as Sycamore Gap, a dip in the wall with a tree that was voted English Tree of the Year in 2016 by supporters of the Woodland Trust. Everyone takes a photo here and you will see why you will be tempted to do the same.

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