A walk along some of the sections of Hadrian’s Wall

A fantastic walk along some of the best-preserved sections of Hadrian’s Wall. You’ll be treated to fantastic views from the highest point on the Wall.

This area is dominated by the dramatic whin sill ridge along which Hadrian’s Wall is built. This rock was here 295 million years before the Romans!

Rare whin grassland plants such as thyme, wild chive, biting stonecrop, rockrose and mountain pansy grow on this hard rock along Hadrian’s Wall.

Birds such as snipe, curlew and skylark can be seen over the moorland, whilst kestrel regularly fly above the crags on Hadrian’s Wall.

Download the PDF guide to Winshield Crags & Cawfields

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Walk overview

Walk difficulty
Moderate
Walk distance
6 miles / 9.6km
Walk duration
3.5 hours
Location
Hadrian's Wall
Recommended OS Map
OS OL43 Explorer 1:25000 Hadrian’s Wall
Accessible
No
Dog friendly
Yes

Step by step route

Starting from outside The Sill

Facing the main entrance follow the path around the right-hand side of the building to the wicket gate by the main road. Cross the road into the small woodland, and turn left up the footpath that runs alongside the road heading uphill.

Take the footpath

Take the footpath through the kissing gate on the left, signed ‘National Trails/ C*aw Gap’. Follow the grassy path straight on, Hadrian’s Wall is on your right.

Steady climb to the trig point

It's a steady climb up to the trig point on the top of Winshield Crags, the highest point on Hadrian’s Wall at 1,132 ft / 345m. For a longer walk continue on to 4 OR retrace your steps back to your start point.

Follow the path

Follow the path as it goes up and down alongside Hadrian’s Wall. Head down the stone steps to the minor road at Caw Gap.

Follow the path signed ‘National Trails /Cawfields Quarry’.

Cross the road, go through the kissing gate and follow the path signed ‘National Trails /Cawfields Quarry’. Continue alongside the Wall, up and down to Turret 41a, Thorny Doors, Cawfields Crags and then Milecastle 42. Milecastles were small forts built every Roman mile along Hadrian’s Wall.

Great views over Cawfields Lake

A short there and back detour up the crag ahead gives great views over Cawfields lake, which was a Whinstone quarry for road- stone from 1902 until 1952, long before Hadrian’s Wall was given World Heritage Site status!

From Milecastle 42...

From Milecastle 42 take the path through the gate and head down to Cawfields where there are toilets and a picnic area by the lake. After visiting retrace your steps back up to Milecastle 42.

Walk route

Getting there

From Newcastle:

Follow the A69 west, just after Hexham take the A6079 (Acomb). Turn left onto the  B6318 (Military Road) for approx 12 miles, to The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre. Turn right up to Steel Rigg Car Park, which is on the right.

From Carlisle:

Follow the A69 east for approx 18 miles. Turn left onto the B6318 (Military Road) at Greenhead. After approx 5 miles at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre. Turn left up to Steel Rigg Car Park, which is on the right.