About the challenge
Walk the entire route of Hadrian’s Wall, from Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast, across the country to Wallsend on the River Tyne, site of the Roman Fort of Segedunum. From busy city riverbanks to the rugged wild country of Northumberland National Park, this is a varied challenge with long days of walking. On our middle two days we’ll walk alongside the remaining sections of Hadrian’s Wall and its ruined forts and towers; these days also offer the most challenging terrain. This is an unforgettable long-distance trek intertwined with ancient history, but offering a wonderful experience of modern UK in addition.
Day 1: Bowness-on-Solway – Carlisle
Trek approx 15 miles
An early start as we meet at Bowness, on the Solway Firth, to start our trek. After a short briefing we set off, leaving the west coast behind. We can enjoy fabulous views across the Solway marshes into Scotland, and look out for the rich birdlife. We then head through Burgh by Sands, where a Roman fort once stood. The walking is fairly flat, but it’s a long day and we’ll be glad to reach our destination, Carlisle. Night hotel.
Day 2: Carlisle – Lanercost Priory
Trek approx 13 miles
The terrain today becomes a little hillier as we leave the coastal plain and the more built-up industrialisation behind us. We pass through landscapes of fields of crops and pockets of woodland, broken by small villages. As we draw towards the end of our day we see more remnants of Hadrian’s Wall, which gives us plenty to anticipate for the coming days. We pass through historic Walton, some of whose houses are built with stone from Hadrian’s Wall. After a couple more miles we finish our day’s trek at Lanercost Priory, a 12th-century priory which also used stone from Hadrian’s Wall for its construction; Roman inscriptions can be seen on some of them. Here we meet the vehicles and transfer to our hotel. Night hotel.
Day 3: Lanercost Priory – Haltwhistle
Trek approx 15 miles
Today we get into existing Hadrian’s Wall territory, and we’ll be joined by those taking part in the weekend part of the challenge. Our route starts by climbing up onto a ridge – a great warm-up! –running alongside Hadrian’s Wall. After more hilly walking than we’ve been used to, we arrive at the impressive Birdoswald Roman Fort, set on a high point above the small village of Gilsland. Here we join a path which runs alongside Hadrian’s Wall and eventually takes us into Northumberland National Park. From our lunch-stop at the Roman Army Museum, we walk beside the most visible sections of the wall, which run along spectacular cliff tops and through stunning countryside towards Cawfields Quarry and Haltwhistle. Shortly afterwards we leave the wall, and head to our hotel for a well-deserved dinner. Night hotel.
Day 4: Haltwhistle – Brocolitia – Chollerford
Trek approx 14 miles
Today is probably our most challenging day, but there are some fantastic sights to keep us motivated. After breakfast we climb back up to the ridge, where we are reunited with the wall and continue walking east. To the north we have great views towards Wark Forest and the barren landscapes of North Northumberland. Our path takes us along crags and past several lakes to Housesteads Roman Fort, where we break for lunch. From here we continue for a couple of hours towards our finish at Brocolitia. This is where the weekend challenge group leave us, and we continue on the remaining few miles to the small village of Chollerford.
Day 5: Chollerford – Newburn
Trek approx 12 miles
We start our day up in the hills again, though will have lost much of that elevation by the end of the day. We pass the large ruins of Chesters Roman Fort, a well-preserved Roman cavalry fort, and dip down before climbing up again. The views today are superb. We start walking downhill towards the village of Heddon-on-the-Wall, where a mile-castle used to stand, and continue downhill towards Newburn – historically important as the closest place to the river-mouth where the Tyne could be crossed. A Roman fort stood by the ford crossing.
Day 6: Newburn – Wallsend
Trek approx 12 miles
We set off on our last day! The morning’s terrain undulates gently, but we are out of the main hills now. By the time we have left the rural landscapes behind and are approaching Newcastle-upon-Tyne our route is very flat. We walk through the quaysides, passing Tyneside’s famous bridges, and head along the riverbank to Wallsend, named for obvious reasons! Here our challenge ends as well – and you will feel elated at the achievement. We finish at the site of the Roman Fort of Segedunum, now the most thoroughly excavated of all the Hadrian’s Walls forts; there is a museum here as well as a section of original wall. After making the most of our huge achievement, we say our farewells and head home.
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
The tour cost includes all accommodation and meals (except breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on Day 6). It also includes full trip support of experienced Discover Adventure leaders and drivers (see Trip Support below).
The tour cost does not include personal travel insurance (optional), extra food, drinks, souvenirs or personal items, or entry to any optional tourist sites you may wish to visit. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
We stay in a hotels along the route; rooms are twin-share with en-suite facilities. You will be sharing with someone else on the challenge. Where suitable accommodation is not available at the end of the day’s walk, you will be transferred to a hotel and driven back to the same point the next day.
All meals are included from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 6, and packed lunches while trekking. The food is very good, will give you lots of energy, and there is plenty of it!
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Your main luggage can be left in the hotel. You should bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and mobile phones, medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
We trek mainly on grassy and paved paths but there are some stony tracks and small tarmac roads; some sections may be muddy. There are steep inclines both up and down. The environment we walk through needs the respect of all its users to be preserved. Please walk on the path surface rather than on the vegetation growing beside it, don’t remove stones from the paths and don’t take short-cuts. Please follow the Countryside Code.
You will trek approximately 81 miles on this trip overall. Because of the varied terrain, measurements vary and it’s only possible to give approximate distances. It’s also more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for, and the type of terrain you will be trekking over! We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.
Even in the summer months we can be exposed to rain, strong winds and storms so be prepared for any weather! You will need appropriate, good quality footwear and clothing to cope with the weather conditions.
Clothing & Equipment
We are trekking through varied terrain and could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. Weather conditions can change quickly in the UK! We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
We insist that you have had a tetanus injection in the last 10 years.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through. AITO, our Trade Association, has recognised the work we do in this area and has awarded us 5 stars as a Responsible Tour Operator.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.