Hadrian's Wall - Housesteads, Steel Rigg, Sewingshields

Walks anywhere else in England not covered by the other forums

Hadrian's Wall - Housesteads, Steel Rigg, Sewingshields

Postby Oli R C » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:48 pm


Hi All,

More a route report, than a specific walk report. I've done this route several times in the last few weeks, as an after work walk, since I drive past here on my commute.

It starts at Housesteads, where there is a visitor centre, so you can grab a chocolate bar, or bottle of water. There is, of course, a substantial car park, and I believe parking would be £5 for the time it takes to do the walk. There's a new system in place that records your registration plate. First 10 or 15 minutes (it's one or the other) are free, and you don't actually have to pay there and then, so you don't need to have change on you (card payments are accepted, too), and you can get online payment info from the screen on the machine. Alternatively, go to the visitor centre at Walltown, and buy a year pass for £35, if you think you would get it's value back in savings.

Anyways, you head up the hill towards the fort. A loose gravel surface, fairly steep, to get the blood flowing. Aim left of the fort, and you'll reach a gate, giving you access to the wall itself. From there, turn left. One of the few places where it's ok to walk along the top of the wall, as it has it's own path like surface. By the time you reach the next gate, you're back onto ground level, and walking alongside the wall. For the next two and a half miles is a walk along one of the best sections of Hadrian's Wall, passing turrets, mile castles, loughs and famous trees (well one), through a succession of steep sided ripples in the whin sill ridge. The views are expansive. To the south you look high over the Tyne Valley, and beyond. South west, you can see Cross Fell and Great Duns Fell, which over look Penrith. To the north is mostly forest (Kielder) and you can pick out Deadwater Fell, which is on the Scottish border. Then slightly more eastwards, you can see the Cheviots, and also pick out Simonside, above Rothbury. That's quite some view!

Eventually you reach the west most point of the route, at Steel Rigg, where you're briefly on tarmac to take you down the back to begin the eastbound stretch. Interestingly, you can look ahead from here and see Sewingshields, right at the other end of the walk. It looks pretty distant, sitting beyond some of the nearer high points already walked.

You can pick up the pace on this leg, as it's mostly tracks and fields. It's a well trodden path, and the going is good. Views back towards the wall are particularly good, as you can now see the crags which you walked along earlier, and you get another angle on that famous tree.

After passing behind the farm at Hotbank, crossing the Pennine Way, and passing by Houseteads, you eventually thread straight through the middle of a plantation at the King's Wicket. The path does get a little tricky around here, with muddy patches, and it's rough at times. It doesn't last too long, and I personally have fun trying to maintain my pace over the mud. There's usually a rock or a tuft of reeds to stand on as stepping stones. Occasionally there's a squelch!

At the other side of the King's Wicket, you're back on the wall. You could just turn for home now, but Sewingshields beckons. A firm grassy ascent, that's probably not as far as it looks, and you are rewarded once again, by incredible views, including Broomlee Lough, which has been along side for the last couple of miles, so it's worth the extra little effort. There's a trig point at the top, and just beyond that is a small turret to have a quick look at.

Once you're done at the top, you can now head back down for the last mile or so. More of the trade mark dips as you descend towards Housesteads. Through another small piece of woodland, go left side of the wall when you emerge. At the very bottom you cross over to the other side to head around the back of Housesteads fort before rejoining the route where you first stepped on the wall, then it's downhill (almost) all the way back to the car park.

Time wise, I've got this down to 2hrs 48mins, but I'm tramping on, as a Scottish friend of mine would say. I did it a few months ago with my Mam, and that was 5 and a half hours. So that would be the more leisurely time. Doing it by myself, I just slip on the Salomon's (shoe's, not boots), stick a couple of Snickers in my pocket, and that's it.

I'll leave you with a selection of images taken during my numerous outings on this route. Thanks for reading! :)

East from Housesteads... Sewingshields Crag, the distant high point. The King's Wicket is the area beyond the plantation on the left...
Looking east from Housesteads Roman Fort by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

First steps on the wall..
On the wall heading west out of Housesteads Roman Fort by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Hotbank. Looking over to Crag Lough...
Hotbank, Hadrian's Wall. by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Stepping up to Highshield Crags by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Above Crag Lough by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

That famous tree...
Sycamore Gap by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Milecastle 39...
Milecastle 39 by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Looking behind at Steel Rigg...
Whin Sill cross section by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Wavey hills with a wall on top by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

On the hot summer days, look out for these little guys...
Lizard by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Looking up to Sewingshield Crags...
Sewingshields by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Broomlee Lough, from the top of Sewingshield Crags...
Broomlee Lough by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Heading back down from Sewingshields by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Same view, late evening...
King's Hill to Housesteads, Hadrian's Wall by Oliver Coats, on Flickr

Click any of my pics to see more. Thanks again for reading. :D
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Oli R C
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Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:30 pm
Location: Haltwhistle

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