While the official guidebook describes the route of the Hadrian’s Wall Path from east to west, many hikers also choose to walk the trail from west to east i.e., starting from Bowness-on-Solway and hiking towards Newcastle.
Starting from Bowness-on-Solway, on the Irish Sea, the trail first makes its way through the flat coastal landscape along the Solway Firth before following the River Eden into the historic border city of Carlisle.
From there, the route follows a pastoral landscape of fields and meadows that passes through several small villages. After Banks, more and more remains of Hadrian’s Wall and its forts, towers and castles become visible as the trail follows the line of the Wall east towards the Roman Fort at Birdoswald and the pretty village of Gilsland.
The trail soon rises to follow the tops of the Northumberland Crags with Roman remains at every turn. Near Once Brewed you come to the highest point of the trail and close by lies the archaeological site of Vindolanda. The route continues past the well-preserved Roman fort of Housesteads before descending again through the wide, open spaces of the Northumberland National Park.
At Chollerford, with its Roman Fort of Chesters, the trail crosses the River Tyne and then continues past the old Roman Portgate, near Corbridge. The route then follows the old Military Road, built on top of the Wall, through a pastoral landscape towards Heddon-on-the-Wall where you find the last preserved stretch of Roman Wall along the route.
The trail now veers south to follow the River Tyne to Newburn and then through the city of Newcastle on former railway tracks and footpaths to the Roman Fort of Segedunum at Wallsend, near the North Sea.
The walking on the Hadrian’s Wall Path trail is relatively easy along footpaths, cycle lanes, well-maintained paths and tracks through fields and on good paths along the top of the Northumberland Crags. Though sometimes muddy in places, there is very little rugged or very wet ground.
There are some minor climbs and a little undulating terrain in the central section but for much of its length the path is more or less flat. The total aggregate ascent is approximately 2,000m over the entire route and the highest point is just 345 metres above sea level.