Hear about walking Hadrian’s Wall as the Amateur Traveler talks to Larissa Milne from Changes in Longitude about their 10-day trek of this old Roman Wall across Northern England.
Hadrian’s Wall is a wall that is located in the north of England, just about along England’s border with Scotland. It is a wall that was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 122 AD. It’s located about at the narrowest part of the island that makes up England, Scotland, and Wales. There’s a spot there in northern England where the island looks like it kind of pinches together, and Hadrian, the Emperor built that wall there to mark the northernmost barrier of the Roman Empire. And what it now is almost 2000 years later, many parts of the wall still exist. And there is a British National trail that goes along it that essentially spans the width of the country at that point.
Larissa said, “The reason that it’s of interest and was certainly of interest to me is because of the fact that it was built in Roman times. It’s a fantastic Roman ruin, first of all, that that again stretches for many miles up there in the northern part of England. But it also was a place where there were a lot of Roman settlements because it was kind of the Northern barrier of the Empire. So there are a lot of settlements and forts, kind of scattered in the general vicinity. Anybody who’s interested in Roman history and Roman ruins, we’ll find it a great destination to explore all of that. And the other thing that really appealed to me about this was this whole idea of going virtually from one side of the country to the other, the walk itself is 84 miles long.”
“I did a lot of research and made the decision that along with Michael, my husband that we were going to take it a little bit more slowly and stop a few times along the way. We took eight days to actually walk the trail. So we averaged about 10 miles a day a little bit more. But within there, we took two days that where we did not go along the walk, we didn’t necessarily call them rest days per se because we did still do a fair amount of walking and exploring somewhere along the way, but it was more to see some of the sites that were there that we felt demanded more attention than just a 10 or 20 minute walk through. So we took 10 full days to do this from one end to the other.”
There is more of the wall left to see in the center third of the trail which is the highest and most remote part of the trail. At either end, the wall was used for centuries as a quarry. Portions of the wall were used to build Carlile Castle and other structures.
Every Roman mile (1,000 paces) there is a small Mile fort. These guarded the gates of the wall and collected taxes on trade crossing the wall. Then there are 16 larger Roman forts along the wall, many of which have small museums. There are also small Roman ruins along the way and significant archeological digs like the city of Vindolanda. Larissa and her husband Michael also took time to explore the ruins of the Lanercost Priory.
Learn about this hike across the width of England and add walking Hadrian’s Wall to your bucket list.
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