Hadrian’s Wall wetlands walk
A circular walk initially heading out north of Hadrian's Wall going through areas of wetland, making it a fantastic home for bird and plant life.
Explore Hadrian’s Wall Country and discover history as well as the views
The route then picks up a section of the Pennine way before finishing on the World Heritage Roman Wall footpath.
Steel Rigg car park, grid ref: NY749676
Leave steel Rigg car park via the main entrance, turning right onto a tarmac road. Continue for ½ mile (800m) going over the crest of the hill.
Turn right down the road signposted 'Gibbs Hill' and continue downhill for 1 mile (1.6km), ignoring all other paths and bridleways.
Just before you reach 'Gibbs Hill' cross a burn via the bridge and turn left here onto bridleway signposted 'permissive car park'. After 100yd (90m) go through the gate and continue along bridleway over the crest of hill. You will now see a public footpath sign 'East Stonefolds 2.5 miles'. Continue is this direction for 1 mile (1.6km) along bridleway initially going downhill then gradually up, keeping Greenlee Lough to your right.
During your walk, you may spot many plants that are classed as British Nationally Scarce Species such as wild chives - only found on the thin Whin Sill soils, as well as other plants found on the whinstone including rue leaved saxifrage, rock rose, thyme, maiden pink and wild onion.
After passing through three gates you will see a sign 'Greenlea Farm 0.5 mile'. Continue along the bridleway to a farm passing through another gate.
Just before the farm the bridleway splits. Take the bridleway to your right marked 'permissive path'. Go through the gate and follow bridleway around in front of the farm and then head downhill for 400 yd (360m) towards the lough. Continue on for another 200yd (180m) until you reach the footpath sign at wall ahead.
Large Heath Butterfly
Amongst all the wonderful plants in this wild habitat is cottongrass. The white, cottony seedheads are extremely distinctive. It has dark green, narrow leaves and drooping flower heads. But what is really special about this is it attracts the rare and beautiful Large Heath Butterfly.
Here, you have the option of a short diversion down to Greenlee Lough; turn right and follow the path for 400yd (360m) where you will hopefully catch a glimpse of the resident birds here. Return on the same footpath. Otherwise turn left here signposted 'East Stonefolds 0.75 mile'. Go over two stiles and a burn via footbridge, following the path up and around the wall until you come to West Stonefold farmhouse. The path passes in front of house here. Continue along bridleway for 600yd (540m) then pass in front of East Stonefolds farmhouse. Continue along the bridleway for another 200yd (180m) until it goes off to the left.
The birds at Hadrian's Wall
Hopefully you will spot a special bird or two using the Crag ledges for nesting sites during your walk. That can vary from Kestrels to Jackdaws as well as Falcons and Ravens.
At this point cut off right across the grass to pick up the Pennine Way path (White Acorn Sign). Go right over the stile and down to the bottom of the hill following guideposts. Then pass over a footbridge and a stile before the path goes off to the right following guideposts passing over some stepping stones (this can be a wet area - please be careful) and then off to the left going sharply uphill.
Cross over the bridleway at the top of the hill. Continue straight across on the Pennine Way path for ¾ mile (1.2km) going over three ridges and one stile until you come to a gate going off to the right.
Go over the stile here - the Roman Wall is now visible to your left - take the left path and walk 500yd (450m) towards the wall initially going downhill over some stepping stones with a sharp rise up to the Wall at the end.
At the Wall turn right over the stile. You are now on the main Roman Wall path. Follow this undulating path for 1.9 miles (3km) back to Steel Rigg car park. On a clear day you will see the North Pennines to the left and the Scottish borders to the right. You will pass over the Crags with great views down to Crag Lough, continue on through Sycamore Gap and Milecastle 39.
Steel Rigg car park, grid ref: NY749676
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