Hadrian’s Wall Path Wallsend to Heddon On The Wall. Day 1. A 17 mile walk through Newcastle City Centre and Industrial surroundings.
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 Wallsend to Heddon On The Wall video.
Day 1 Hadrian’s Wall Path Wallsend to Heddon On The Wall
You start the walk at Wallsend, at Segedunum which is the last wall fort in the west, although you won’t actually see any wall for about 30 miles!
Unfortunately most of the wall at this side of the country has long since gone being buried under the City of Newcastle upon Tyne. But the walk itself makes for some interesting viewing. Despite what the guide books say about this part!
Having travelled down to our accommodation in Wallsend on Sunday 3rd, we started early on the Monday following the initial sign posts which would eventually be replaced by national trail acorn signs.
Although not cold at all, the weather looked like it was threatening rain to start with. It was forecast, but luckily for us on this first day it didn’t happen until later.
I don’t think Lady Lynne would have been at all amused if on the very first day we’d both had a soaking, possibly dampening our enthusiasm early on. No, the worst rain was to come later in the week…….
The initial trail follows route 72, a national cycle path passing through some housing estates and industrial areas.
If anything, at least you get a good warm up in the first stages and some new scenery! Especially if all you’re used to seeing is computer screen all day, like Lynne and I do in our day jobs!
And of course there’s the fresh air. Lots of lovely fresh air. Even just walking helps you feel happier and calmer. Away from the stresses and strains of the office.
Eventually you’ll end up descending down to the side of the River Tyne which winds it way through Newcastle and down to the North sea. You will walk beside that river for most of Day 1 until you get through to the west side of the city.
When you get near the city centre, you’ll see the 7 bridges crossing the Tyne and you’ll pass under each one of them. All of them are fascinating unique structures, steeped in history.
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge is the second most recent bridge to be built.
The Bridge tilts every day at 12 noon between 23 May and 30 September.
This “daily tilt” is to allow tourists to see how it works. But the bridge does actually tilt to allow shipping to pass underneath it. That’s the reason for the height / maneuverability of all of the Tyne bridges so shipping can be allowed upstream.
Looking back on the High Level Bridge you get an idea of the scale of the structure.
High Level Bridge is the oldest of all the existing bridges. It opened in 1849.
One of the reasons why the Tyne bridges had to be able to let vessels upstream was because of this amazing piece of industrial heritage, Dunstan Staiths.
This is where they used to load coal onto the ships in years gone by to transport it to other cities.
When I first walked Hadrian’s Wall Path in 2013 I became obsessed with finding out more about this structure. It’s believed to be the largest timber structure in Europe.
Opened in 1893 by the North East Railway Company, it was built to allow large quantities of coal arriving by rail from the Durham Coalfields to be loaded directly onto waiting colliers (coal ships) ready for the onward journey to customers in London and abroad. With the demise of coal shipments and the coal industry in general, Dunstan Staiths saw its last coal shipment made in the 1970’s.
Fortunately now, instead of falling into more disrepair it’s a scheduled monument undergoing restoration and repair as a tourist attraction.
The rest of the trail outside Newcastle heading west on Day 1 takes you along an old railway bed, through park land and over a golf course with a final arrival at Heddon On The Wall.
Watch this short Day 1 Hadrian’s Wall Path Wallsend to Heddon On The Wall video for more snippets of that part of the trail.
Hadrian’s Wall Path Wallsend to Heddon On The Wall Video
Day 1 was a day of good timing and pace.
We’d started out at 9am that morning with just a few short stops to eat some sandwiches we’d bought and arrived at The Three Tuns pub at 3.30 for well deserved liquid refreshments!
There’s nothing quite like a good pint of local real ale especially when you’ve earnt it after 17 miles.
This pint was definitely guilt free!
So all in all it wasn’t bad going for our first day. And we managed to avoid the rain which started shortly after we arrived at our evening bunk house accommodation at Houghton North Farm, checking in at about 5pm.
Dinner that evening was a pasta chilli cooked by yours truly in the bunk house kitchen. That was to be the last meal I would cook that week though because the rest of the accommodation arranged for the coming week were in good quality budget hotels with dinner available.
Time to hang up the apron. For a few days anyway! 😉
And so we settled in sharing a bottle of wine. Only disturbed once by a “gatecrasher”! 😆
Ha ha! Hope you can check back soon for Day 2, Heddon On The Wall to Wall.
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