Walltown Circular Day Hiking Hadrians Wall Northumberland England UK
Walltown Circular Day Hiking Hadrians Wall was about 7.25 miles in distance and was part of a Northumberland hiking holiday.
If you are going to hike along Hadrians Wall from west to east then the Walltown section will provide you with an initial understanding of how grand a scale Hadrians Wall is.
Extra drama has been added to the scenery by a century of quarrying dolerite from the Great Whin Sill which has created an abrupt high cliff edge.
Walltown – Day Hiking Hadrians Wall Northumberland Video
This video slideshow shows the highlights of this Walltown – Day Hiking Hadrians Wall Northumberland trip.
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Walltown – Day Hiking Hadrians Wall Northumberland Route
Walltown Circular Day Hiking Hadrians Wall was a great moderate hike with some short steep inclines and descents. Traversing one of the most rugged wall sections, the route also explored countryside on both sides of the wall as well as passing the medieval castle of Thirlwall. The route was a figure of eight shape, first going eastward in a clockwise loop and the starting location was Walltown pay and display car park.
The first loop of the route followed the undulating line of Hadrians Wall, past mile castles, turrets and an old quarry cliff edge. The path continued east through a wood and past Cockmount Hill Farmhouse to the Roman Military Fort next to Great Chesters Farm. Here the path briefly headed south before turning west past an old quarry limekiln to a junction near Walltown.
The second part of the route was an anti-clockwise loop. First going north west from the Walltown junction through a gap in the crags across tussock on the moor to High Old Shields. The route then went westerly in a zigzag to Wood House via Cairny Croft. After going south past Thirlwall Castle to Holmhead the route turned east and back to the start.
Walltown – Day Hiking Hadrians Wall Northumberland Local Info
Hadrians Wall & Walltown
Construction of Hadrian’s Wall commenced in AD 122 and eventually spanned 73 miles over northern England. The wall continued to be used up to the 5th century when the Romans left Britain. There remains substantial evidence of Hadrians Wall and some segments have been rebuilt or restored in order to demonstrate how impenetrable and menacing its construction was. This section of Hadrians Wall near Walltown is one of the best preserved sections, just north of Haltwhistle.
Walltown is actually a reclaimed quarry. It is now a Northumberland National Park site for recreation. It comprises a lake and some paths that are easy access, together with a pond and trails that are waymarked. There is a pay and display car park monitored by CCTV and some cycle storage together with a visitor centre which is seasonal. There is also Walltown Farm about a mile to the east.
Great Chesters Farm Roman Military Fort
The Roman Military Fort at Great Chesters Farm is quite striking. However, it is smaller and has fewer ruins visible on top of the ground than the Housesteads site further east along Hadrians Wall. A lot of the boundary wall is visible together with a lot of the building outlines inside the fort.
There is a stone arch, now surrounded by a fence, which is especially interesting as it was part of the supporting arch roof of strong room that was underground. At the south eastern end lies a well together with a pedestal altar.
Forts often attracted civilians who would build settlements outside, near to the fort. South west of the fort lies the remains of a cemetery, whilst to the south east, there are the remains of a Roman bath house which was at the heart of social life for Romans.
The Vallum is a ditch with ramparts of earth on both sides. The Vallum is believed to have served as defining boundary to a military zone which excluded civilians. It runs behind the wall throughout its length. It was constructed at some time after the wall.
Edward I is thought to have slept at Thirlwall Castle in 1306 but its first mention is regarding its fortification in the 14th century by the Thirlwalls. Standing until the 1640s, the castle was snubbed after the Scottish took it during the Civil War. It was built from material from the Roman wall and its demise was accelerated due to villagers taking materials for their own cottages.
Line most castles it has a story. There is supposed to be a solid gold table with a ugly dwarf keeper hidden underneath it. John de Thirlwall is said to have brought them back with him from the Crusades. A band of murderous Scottish raiders is heard of the treasure and came to steal it.
The dwarf is supposed to have saved himself and the table, when he jumped into the well of the castle, disappearing without trace as it quickly sealed up behind him. Apparently, the ghost of the dwarf still roams about guarding his treasure.
When Done & With Whom
I did this hike with my partner Anne whilst on a Northumberland hiking holiday during April 2011. We drove from our cottage accommodation in Bellingham to the starting location of Walltown pay and display car park.