Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail 10th Anniversary
Trail 10th Anniversary
Voted Britain’s finest long distance trail in 2011 by Countryfile, 2013 is the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail's 10th anniversary. National Trails enable walkers to explore Britain’s finest countryside and the Hadrian’s Wall Path is no exception, acting as a gateway to the outstanding landscapes, heritage and wildlife from coast to coast across the north of England.
The Hadrian’s Wall Path is unique because for most of its length it runs beside Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Roman remains lie just beneath the Trail’s surface so special care is needed to protect the archaeology. This was soon realised following the opening of the Trail when many sections became badly eroded. Since then every effort has been made to maintain a grass surface to the path as this is the best way to protect the archaeology in keeping with the scenic landscape.
Caring for the Trail
Every day two lengthsmen are out maintaining the grass cover and other elements of the Trail including signs, stiles, gates and drainage. Wherever possible they mow a 2 metre wide strip to encourage walkers to walk side-by-side, helping to spread the pressure. They also restore and re-seed eroded sections. More substantial projects to maintain and improve the path require detailed project designs to be drawn up and applications made for official permission (Scheduled Monument Consent) from English Heritage who have ultimate responsibility for protecting Hadrian’s Wall.
The lengthsmen are supported by a team of over 70 volunteers who monitor and report on the condition of the Trail and who give information and advice to walkers.
Different types of information are collected regularly to help monitor the condition of the Trail. Photographs are taken at fixed points several times a year and the trail condition scored to assess any changes. People counters enable assessment of the numbers of walkers using the Trail and any increases which might put pressure on the Trail surface. Weather and soil moisture information enable long term comparisons of the impact of different weather conditions.
All this enables us to build a picture of the changing condition of the Trail in response to different pressures. Over the last six years the condition of the Trail has improved by nearly 30% and almost all the sections that became badly eroded in the years immediately following the Trail’s opening are now in good condition. Over the same period visitor numbers have increased by 40% to over 11,000 end-to-end walkers each year and an estimated 750,000 casual walkers who walk a section of the Trail only, often as part of a circular route.
It takes a lot of commitment, resource and funding to keep the Trail in a condition for people to enjoy not only today but for the years to come.
How You Can Help Look After The Trail
The bad weather in 2012 has created new problems as many sections of the Trail became waterlogged and drainage systems failed. This underlines the need for ongoing management of Britain’s best National Trail to ensure we can protect the amazing heritage that lies just beneath our feet!
Top Tips while on the Trail include walking side-by-side wherever possible (it's easier to hold hands too!) rather than single file and walking the Trail between May and September when the weather is better and the grass is growing. See our ‘Every Footstep Counts’ code for more information.
It costs over £4,000 per mile to look after the Trail every year and to provide information to visitors. By making a donation to the Hadrian's Wall Trust you can help us maintain the Trail to the highest standards and ensure all visitors have a wonderful experience exploring one of the World’s most famous heritage sites - every little bit helps.
Celebrating the Trail's Anniversary
The National Trail is a gateway to the heritage, landscapes, wildlife and communities of Hadrian’s Wall Country. To mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Trail we are celebrating the amazing range of opportunities available to visitors across the length of the World Heritage Site.
The celebration will include a number of events to mark the opening of the Trail itself:
- On Thursday 23rd May David McGlade, the National Trail Officer, will lead a talk and guided walk along the Trail from Segedunum at Wallsend on Tyneside
- On Saturday 25th May the Deja Crew living history team will bring the Roman world to life at Bowness-on-Solway and lead guided walks
- Hadrian’s Wall Country Heritage Guides will be leading guided walks including sections of the Trail from May to September
Take a look at our Hadrian's Wall Country Celebration page to see the wide range of activities and events helping to mark the Trail's special anniversary.