Friday 15 June 2018

Hadrian's Wall by Bus

On this trip I was hosted by Visit Britain.

Last year Narrelle Harris and I visited Hadrian's Wall, constructed in AD 122 by the Roman Empire in order to mark and guard its northernmost border.

You can hike the entire length of the wall, but that's a long way to walk - the trail runs 135 kilometres from eastern Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway in the west. And the best section is in the middle, where the hilly country with its lower population has left much of the structure intact.

The solution for us was to catch the seasonal AD122 bus. The bus runs between the railway stations of Haltwhistle (in the west) and Hexham (in the east), with easy connections to Carlisle and Newcastle.

As it stops at key sites along the wall, including museums and former forts, it makes the historic structure accessible to everyone, though there's still some walking to do from the bus stops to the wall itself.

Not everyone's up for a long walk, especially in such hilly country, so it's a good option for travellers who are less mobile.

In the end we did walk a section of the wall, taking a leisurely two hours to stroll up and down the sloping trail west from the fort site now known as Housesteads.

Once we'd had enough of that, we used a farm access road to get back to the main road, where we were happy to flag down the next bus. A day ticket allows multiple rides, and the bus will pick up anywhere that's safe along its route.

The walk was great, but we were happy to get back on the bus and use it to reach the ruins of the former Roman military town south of the wall, Vindolanda [pictured above].

We used it the next day as well, to see some of the wall-related sites closer to Haltwhistle. It was a great way to explore Hadrian's Wall, and allow some walking without exhausting ourselves.

For more details about the AD122 bus, click here.

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