Hadrian’s Wall Path Wall to Greenhead. Day 3. A 22 mile walk following the course of Hadrian’s Wall passing the most spectacular stretches of the original Wall.
In September Lady Lynne and I completed the 84 miles coast to coast Hadrian’s Wall Path walk across Britain.
The path goes from Wallsend in Newcastle upon Tyne to Bowness On Solway. We did it in 5 days.
This is our day by day recap and a selection of short videos of that 5 day walk.
Day 3 Hadrian’s Wall Path Wall to Greenhead
Great food and a comfortable nights sleep were just what Lady Lynne and I needed after our second (and wettest day on the path so far), yesterday which I wrote about in the Day 2 Hadrian’s Wall Path Heddon On The Wall to Wall post.
We left The Hadrian Hotel at roughly 9am on the Wednesday morning. That’s the second time I’ve stayed there and I seriously can’t find anything to fault it!
In fact I was almost disappointed to learn that they were removing their original victorian mechanical toilets in their current renovation.
I think Lady Lynne found them a bit disturbing though as they groaned during the night and woke her up when someone in the hotel went to the toilet. 😆
Anyway, just a mile down the road from the village of Wall we rejoined the Hadrian’s Wall Path at Chollerford.
Nearby to this small village is Chesters Roman Fort, a cavalry fort built to guard the Roman bridge over the North Tyne River.
The fort wasn’t somewhere we had time to visit though as we had a lot of mileage to cover today, and wanted to spend as much of this day seeing the best and most intact parts of the actual wall!
If you watch the short video, which is further further down, you’ll see the part where I remind Lynne to point out the actual wall in the distance as she’s marching forth towards it.
Today was by far the best and most scenic day of walking the Hadrian’s Wall Path.
Today we saw some of the most spectacular and best-preserved sections of Hadrian’s Wall, which snake up and down along the top of the Northumberland Crags.
Although there was lots of climbing up and down in this stretch it was very all rewarding with great views and history that you can literally reach out and touch. (And sit on 😉 )
We were also a lot luckier with the weather on this day.
Had it been quite as wet as it was on Day2 yesterday, we might not have been able to stop and enjoy the scenery, dramatic countryside and bits of the wall as we did.
Not only is the Wall itself especially well preserved along this Hadrian’s Wall Path Wall to Greenhead stretch, but there are also the remains and foundations of where several turrets used to be, for example Walltown turret.
These turrets show how the soldiers who built the wall lived in this part of the wall. The information boards at each turret remains explaining the living accomodation and day to day tasks of this sometimes very lonely and often dangerous life.
Milecastles were placed at intervals of approximately one Roman mile along the wall. These were small forts with two turrets in between. There was a fort about every five Roman miles.
It is thought that the milecastles were staffed with static garrisons, whereas the forts had fighting garrisons of infantry and cavalry.
The layout of the original wall is very clear from the photograph above.
From north to south, the wall comprised a ditch, wall, military way and vallum, another ditch with adjoining mounds.
Above are the remains of the Temple of Mithras.
This temple was dedicated to the god worshiped by Roman soldiers.
It was the largest of such buildings to occupy this particular site and is situated here as it was close to Carrawburgh Roman Fort.
The temple was probably built by soldiers based at the fort in about AD 200. It was eventually desecrated, probably by Christians.
Nearby was the still more popular well shrine of the water-nymph Coventina.
The above stretch of Wall includes the highest point on Hadrian’s Wall where you can enjoy spectacular views of rugged country.
This part of the Hadrian’s Wall Path Wall to Greenhead was really popular as its easily accessible by road and so a lot of coaches and day trippers head here.
Therefore I found it difficult to take photographs without lots of people being in them. The best way to see it, I recommend, is to experience it in person!
At some parts of the wall, for example in the photograph above, the original wall has been completely removed.
Though the foundations still remain with a new farm wall, probably to keep cattle fenced in, built over it.
It’s likely as I said in the previous day’s post that the Walls’ original material was largely used for farm buildings as it was also used to build Thirlwall Castle.
The view looking down on the remains of Milecastle 39 is shown above.
The excavated stonework has been consolidated, the walls are up to 1.75 metres high and the inside measures 19 metres by 15.5 metres.
The site was cleared in 1854, and then was first excavated in 1908-11, then re-excavated between 1982 and 1987.
In the south-east corner was found a stone oven and the south-west corner had a rectangular building with a sunken floor.
The milecastle appears to have been occupied until the late 4th century and then in the 18th century and its possible a milking house was built in the west corner.
That just goes to show what little consideration there was for our heritage then compared to what there is now! The Wall is UNESCO registered.
Watch this short Day 3 Hadrian’s Wall Path Wall to Greenhead video for more snippets of that part of the trail.
Hadrian’s Wall Path Wall to Greenhead Video
Day 3, Hadrian’s Wall Path Wall to Greenhead was a very long day.
Probably more so because we were up and down the undulating landscape following the Wall all the way.
It was close to 6pm when we finally arrived at The Greenhead Hotel in Greenhead.
Naturally the first thing to do after we had dropped our rucksacks into our room and removed our boots was to head to the bar for a well deserved beer.
Due to a mix up of rooms we had to move everything to another room which was a bit annoying but that meant we got a free beer. So that moan was over and behind us straight away!
Dinner in the hotel was excellent. I had roast duck. In fact pretty much all week I was treating myself to something I just wouldn’t normally have at home.
I figured we’d earned it with the distance we were covering and the calories we were burning on a daily basis!
Anyway folks that ends Day 3 Hadrian’s Wall Path Wall to Greenhead. Be sure to check back soon for Day 4 Greenhead to Carlisle.
I love these posts, Neil! Not only are the pictures stunning, but I love hearing the tidbits of history scattered into the posts. I actually wrote a paper back in college about Mithras, so I was particularly interested in this part of the post. Thanks so much for sharing photos! I don’t know if I’ll ever walk the entire wall, but I sure would love to see the wall at some point! Cheers, friend!
Wow that’s really interesting that you wrote a paper back in college about Mithras David! I have to admit I knew absolutely nothing until I started googling Mithras. I’d have been far better asking you for that paper! 😀
I’m glad you enjoy these kind of posts too. I know some folks just come for the recipes, so I’m not sure if posts like these are interesting for everyone so I appreciate it when someone enjoys these posts too!
This place is truly magnificent and picturesque! Loved the pictures, Neil! 😉
Thanks Agness. It’s nice seeing some unspoiled countryside isn’t it? Even nicer walking through it, especially on this day’s walk which was a long one but very enjoyable!