Hadrian's Wall Path

Northumberland National Park is home to the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail, an unbroken 135 km (84 mile) signposted footpath stretching from coast-to-coast across England.

It follows the line of Hadrian’s Wall, along the way passing through some of the most beautiful parts of England – from rolling fields and rugged moorland to the vibrant cities of Newcastle and Carlisle. Over the next twelve months, we’ll be checking in Hadrian’s Wall Trail Rangers Gary and Tess to find out how they maintain one of the most popular walking routes in the UK.

Scheduled Ancient Monument

The Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail runs for 84 miles from Segedunum Roman fort across the country to Carlisle and 15 miles west to Bowness-on-Solway. The majority of the trail runs alongside archaeological features associated with Hadrian’s Wall; including the Wall, the Vallum and the North Ditch.

Hadrian’s Wall and its associated features is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Scheduled Ancient Monument. A section of the route lies with the Northumberland National Park boundary and to the west, the Trail runs through the Solway Coast AONB. These are some of the highest landscape designations within the UK.

Surface and furniture

The Trail itself can be broken down into the walking surface and the furniture; things like gates, stiles and fingerposts. Over time these elements will wear out and require maintenance.

To ensure these are well maintained we undertake a detailed Annual Survey to decide what needs replacing and to identify areas that could develop into future issues.

We also managed a dedicated team of volunteers who undertake monthly surveys of individual sections, looking at any current issues. These surveys allow us to better plan our ongoing work schedule.

Green sward

The ideal surface for the trail is ‘green sward’ or grass. It is sustainable, self-repairing and natural within the landscape. It creates a wearing membrane between walkers and the underlying archaeology.

Much of our time is used maintaining this important ‘green-belt’, trying to present as wide a path as possible. If users of the Trail can walk side-by-side, then you’ve halved the impact on that particular section.

That said, grass is not always the most appropriate surface. The Trail also runs through a series of urban environments, for example in and around Newcastle Quayside and Engine-Lonnen in Carlisle, where grass would not be an appropriate fit with the surroundings.”

Look out for our next Hadrian’s Wall Path post where Gary and Tess will discuss more about their work following the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall