Apart from the Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail itself there are plenty of short walks linking up with the Wall. For example there are pleasant walks linking both Corbridge (the walk passes Aydon Castle) and Haltwhistle (up Haltwhistle Burn) with the Hadrian's Wall National Park. Another good area near the Wall is Allen Banks near Bardon Mill, while the Northumberland National Park opens up another range of opportunities.
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Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail
Hadrian's Wall Path follows Hadrian's wall for 84 miles from Wallsend to Bowness on the Solway Firth. Only running through Newcastle does it leave the path of the Wall to take the more scenic route beside the Tyne, before rejoining the wall at Heddon on the Wall.
The route is well served by the AD122 bus and by public transport along the valley to the South on the Newcastle-Hexham-Haltwhistle-Carlisle route, so it's easy to do the walk in stages. Note though that the Wall follows the ridge there are few villages along the route itself between Newcastle and Carlisle and most of the towns and villages are a few miles South of the wall in the valley.
If you are walking the whole of Hadrian's wall in one go and planning to camp, then you will find that most camp-sites are in the centre part of the walk. The last campsites heading east are before Heddon-on-the-wall, so you may want to book a hostel or hotel in Newcastle. Heddon to Wallsend can be walked in one day, but it is one of the longer sections. Have a look at the map to see the details of some of the camp-sites on or close to Hadrian's Wall.
Hadrian's Wall lies in the midst of some of the best hills in England. To the North are the Cheviots hills and the huge Kielder forest, to the south are the Pennines, while further away to the south west are the Lakes.
Lying along the border with Scotland, the Cheviots consists of rounded hills and valleys. The hills are home to a wide range of wildlife including wild goats and deer, while you can find otters in the clean streams that run down from the hills. The Cheviots get far fewer visitors than areas such as the Lake District and it's possible to walk all day and hardly meet a soul. There are quite a few bridleways and these and the long distances makes mountain biking a good option for exploring the area. There are large army firing ranges in the area, so check when they are being used if you are going to cross one (details are listed on the Northumberland National Park website.
Kielder forest lies to the north of the wall. Covering over 200 square miles, Kielder is the biggest forest in the Uk. At it's heart is Kielder reservoir. The reservoir has a 27 mile shoreline and is the largest man made lake in Northern Europe. Kielder has many walking and mountain bike trails; and aims to become one of the top mountain biking centres in the country. Apart from this, Kielder features a number of modern visual art, of which Skyscape is probably the most famous, although Minotaur (a contemporary maze at Kielder Castle) is another firm favourite. Kielder has lodges and a campsite to stay at.
The Pennines lie South of Hadrian's Wall. The northern part can be accessed from the Allendale and Alston. Allendale is famous for it's New Year eve celebrations where a people in fancy dress parade through the town carrying barrels of burning tar on their heads. Alston is the highest market town in England. It has steep cobbled streets flanked by old stone buildings and is home to the South Tynedale railway which runs a narrow guage railway. Next to their station is a small but fascinating local museum.
The southern part of the Pennines can be reached from Carlisle via the Settle Carlisle railway, which is one of Britains most scenic railways.
The Lake District is easily accessable from Carlisle by both car and public transport. The Lake District has stunning scenary and the hills are much more rugged than the the Cheviots, thus giving scrambling and climbing opportunities as well as great hill walking. The Lakes can get very busy in Summer, to avoid the crowds try to avoid getting to the top at lunch time, either set off early or make use of the long summer evenings. Another way to avoid the worst of the crowds is to head to the Western side; places such as Wasdale have some of the most stunning scenary in the Lake District.