Hadrian’s Wall Path is one of the most popular long-distance walking trails in the UK. This is with good reason, it has incredible history, beautiful scenery and lovely villages to stay in along the trail. It can be walked in either direction so one of the most common questions asked is which is the best direction to walk Hadrian’s Wall Path? In this post, we provide all of the information you need in order to decide.
Hadrian’s Wall Path is considered to be one of the easiest long distance trails in England. Reaching from Wallsend on the east coast of England to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast, the trail stretches for 135km (or 84 miles). The route is comprised of a mixture of footpaths, fields, well-maintained tracks and very few climbs.
This mostly flat and even surface means that Hadrian’s Wall Path can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. If you don’t fancy tackling the full 135km stretch, there are plenty of options to just walk certain parts of the wall over 4 – 11 Days.
The mid-portion of the hike, between Chollerford and Lanercost, is where you truly get to experience the wilderness of the countryside. Some of the most important and well-preserved ruins are here, such as Housesteads and Vindolanda.
Some undulating terrain, well preserved Roman ruins and quaint little villages later, the wall then ends in Bowness-on-Solway.
Also check out our post: 7 Best Roman Ruins Along Hadrian’s Wall Path
Best Direction To Walk Hadrian’s Wall Path
An important decision when planning your hike on Hadrian’s Wall Path is which direction you want to walk it in as it can be walked both ways.
The classic and most popular route follows the construction of the wall from east to west. This offers several advantages. Firstly, you can watch the landscape change from the urban hustle and bustle in Newcastle to the idyllic expanses of Northumberland to the final destination by the sea.
Also check out our post: Hadrian’s Wall Path – 9 Trail Highlights
Many walkers feel that it is ‘more natural’ to walk out of a big city into open countryside and it also makes getting to the start of the walk easier. Leaving the city of Newcastle behind, the scale of the Romans’ project becomes increasingly clear as more forts and watchtowers come in to view.
Another bonus of starting in Newcastle is that you can visit Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum prior to the start of your first walk. This museum is located right beside the starting point of the trail in Newcastle, contradictorily called Wallsend. This provides a great introduction to the history of the wall and what you will find along the path.
Walking from east to west, you also follow the course of the sun and are rewarded with atmospheric sky colors and sunsets when the sky is clear. Finally, walking in this director also makes getting to the start of the walk easier due to the better transport connections to Newcastle.
However, there are also many hikers who walk Hadrian’s Wall Path from west to east. The main reason for this is so they will have the Atlantic wind normally behind them on their hike. Although this does make walking easier, Hadrian’s Wall Path is one of the gentlest and lowest lying national trails in the UK and therefore, this is not as important a factor as it is for other trails.
Ultimately, no matter which director you choose to walk Hadrian’s Wall Path, the scenery is just as stunning and the history just as fascinating so you can’t really go wrong.