Hadrian’s Wall Path Heddon On The Wall to Wall. Day 2. A 17 mile walk following the course of Hadrian’s Wall passing through the rolling countryside of Northumberland.
In September Lady Lynne and I completed the 84 miles coast to coast Hadrian’s Wall Path walk across Britain from Wallsend in Newcastle upon Tyne to Bowness On Solway in 5 days. This is our day by day recap of that walk.
Scroll down to the botton for the Hadrian’s Wall Path Heddon On The Wall to Wall video.
Day 2 Hadrian’s Wall Path Heddon On The Wall to Wall
Houghton North Farm (above) provided a much needed peaceful and comfortable nights sleep for Lady Lynne and I after our first day on the path, Day 1, Hadrian’s Wall Path Wallsend to Heddon On The Wall.
The rain had arrived shortly after our arrival at Houghton North Farm and we’d heard it falling heavily on the roof of the converted bunkhouse barn that we slept in as we both fell asleep. Even though heavy it didn’t disturb out deep slumbers!
Whilst we’d managed to avoid it on our first day and it wasn’t raining to start off with on our second day, the forecast was for heavy showers during the day and for it to brighten up later.
So, after our hearty bunk house provided breakfasts of scrambled eggs, toast and strong fresh coffee if was with a little trepidation that we adorned full waterproof gear and set out on our second day’s hike.
Again the path is signposted by the acorn symbol. Sometimes when you’ve walked for a quite a few miles and haven’t seen an acorn sign you can get quite anxious! It becomes reassuring and welcoming to see that familiar sign.
Of course I was carrying a map of the path too, but really would you want to have to stop and get it out of your rucksack in these wet conditions? 😉
Anyway, today we walked through miles and miles of Northumberland countryside.
Where the path crossed farmers fields, as it did above, the farmer gets paid to keep that stretch of his / her field clearly cut short so that it’s obvious where to walk.
This of course prevents us walkers from straying from the proper path. In may cases when you walk through farmland you’re actually sharing the fields with cattle and / or sheep and have to avoid them /navigate around them!
In some cases the path is cordoned off at the side of a field so that the farmers crops are kept away from walkers so as to avoid any contamination.
We were lucky in that whilst it was wet and we experienced those heavy showers I mentioned earlier, you can see that the path (in most places) wasn’t too boggy. Helping us to avoid mud baths!
Although saying that both of us were already experiencing wet feet from the saturated grass we’d walked through previously. I was a bit disappointed in the quality of my new Saloman walking shoes this year. I’d bought what I though were the same ones as when I’d previously done the Hadrian’s Wall Path in 2013 which I’d felt were more waterproof. Are you reading this Saloman shoes? 😐
We had a brief coffee / toilet stop at The Errington Arms. A much welcomed but brief shelter from the rain.
One thing we didn’t have to do on this whole walk that I hadn’t mentioned before and I thought might be useful for anyone else reading this and considering walking the path, is that we only carried “day rucksacks” on each day’s walk. I remembered about this from seeing one of the rare pictures of me and my rucksack (above).
Our main rucksacks containing our clothes and all other staying over essentials are carried each day from accommodation to accommodation by the Sherpavan service.
As you can imagine not having to carry HUGE rucksacks with all our belongings in every day is a complete relief. Our “day rucksacks” just contain our waterproofs (when not wearing them) and food and drink and other essentials for the day only.
Back to the wall, and the remnants of Hadrian’s Wall become more and more clear as you get further into central England.
Although no actual wall is visible, what is clearly visible is the Vallum. Which Lynne is pointing out above. The vallum runs practically from coast to coast to the south of the wall.
Just like the brief stop at the pub it was also welcoming when the path deviated into some of the many forests along the path giving us shelter from the showers.
I know I sound like I’m moaning here, and honestly it’s not meant to sound that way, but when you’re covered in waterproofs from head to toe, it means you are reasonably dry, yes, but it’s not exactly cold (although it looks as if though it is in these photographs). So you get quite hot and moving into the tree covered sheltered areas means you can take a layer off and cool down a little. Albeit for only a short while!
Anyway, isn’t the forest and foliage beautiful. You can imagine the sounds of the rain falling on the leaves above your head. It’s provides quite a calming effect to your well-being overall!
At some parts of the remains of the wall you do actually get to walk on the mounds which are on each side of the Vallum.
These mounds only exist in places where centuries of farming haven’t torn them down or ploughed them up.
That’s exactly the same reason why the wall doesn’t still exist all the way from coast to coast still. The majority of the materials the original wall was built from having long since been removed and reused in farm buildings and other building projects.
As we began to get closer to Wall (the village, not The Wall itself 😉 ) the clouds began to part and we saw some glimmers of blue sky.
Watch this short Day 2 Hadrian’s Wall Path Heddon On The Wall to Wall video for more snippets of that part of the trail.
Hadrian’s Wall Path Heddon On The Wall to Wall Video
All the other walkers that we passed that day were going in the opposite direction from us, west to east and not walking the Hadrian’s Wall Path Heddon On The Wall to Wall, east to west as we were.
Regardless of which way you were going everyone we met were very friendly, as is the expected case of the camaraderie of the walkers “on the wall”!
There’s a history board here at Planetrees for a specific reason. And that’s not just because it is the first official glimpse of actual wall that you get to see, even if it is just 15 metres long!
No, you see what happened here at Planetrees and the reason why this length of wall is important is for what it reveals about a change of plan that took place during the construction of the Wall.
Here, the width was narrowed from 10 to 8 Roman feet probably to speed up building. At Planetrees the soldiers laying the Wall’s foundations are thought to have worked faster than the builders of the superstructure, because the narrower Wall sits on top of broader foundations.
At last! After nearly 30 miles and two solid days of walking from our start point at Wallsend in Newcastle we had finally reached an existing piece of Roman history.
We rested for a little while here examining the fine mason’s work and precise alignment before continuing on our way and enjoying the excellent views of the outstanding rolling countryside before our eyes. Finally we had seen (and sat on) our first piece of Hadrian’s Wall.
And, as a little celebration it was out with my hip flask of Talisker for a wee dram!
Obviously welcomed by Lady Lynne! 😆
We finally reached the village of Wall at about 3pm and our lovely accomodation The Hadrian Hotel and after removing our muddy shoes and wet weather gear I did my usual and enjoyed a pint of local real Ale. We then got ourselves completely showered and cleaned up and enjoyed a fantastic home cooked evening meal there too.
So folks that ends Day 2 Hadrian’s Wall Path Heddon On The Wall to Wall. Be sure to check back soon for Day 3 Wall To Greenhead or better still subscribe by following the instructions below!
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