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Explore Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort

Four visitors and a dog walking along a footpath next to Hadrian's Wall
Walkers exploring Hadrian's Wall | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Inscribed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, there is plenty to discover at Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort. A landscape with historic landmarks, you might also spot some special wildlife on your visit.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Stretching 80 miles (120 km) from the Solway Coast in Cumbria to Wallsend near Newcastle Upon Tyne, Hadrian's Wall is an impressive sight. The UNESCO World Heritage Site totals 110 miles, continuing at both sides from Arbeia in South Shields to Ravenglass in Cumbria.

The National Trust cares for six of the most iconic miles of Hadrian’s Wall, from Sewingshields in the East to Cawfields in the west, including the iconic Sycamore Gap.

Housesteads Fort

The wall has 16 permanent bases, of which Housesteads Fort is one of the best preserved. Excavations at the Fort revealed a turreted curtain wall, three barrack blocks and well-preserved latrines.

With a history that goes back almost 2,000 years, you can imagine how life was for the 800 Roman soldiers based here. Wander the remains of the barrack blocks, the commandant’s house and see if you can find some of the oldest toilets you'll ever see!

Milecastle 37

Placed astride a narrow nick in the ridge top which allowed some access to the north, Milecastle 37 is now in part obscured by the 19th century excavation spoil heaps. The Milecastles were the earliest phase of building the wall, acting as rest stops for soldiers and travellers.

Walkers at Sycamore Gap on Hadrian's Wall
Walkers at Sycamore Gap on Hadrian's Wall | © Roger Coulam

Sycamore Gap

Sycamore Gap is famous for its scene-stealing moment in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner. The wall surrounding the gap shows it was repaired with lime mortar and the construction deposited sealed pottery datable to the late 2nd century.

Crag Lough

For miles around, Crag Lough dominates the wall's landscape, almost always in shade by the vertical towering of the Whin Sill. The Lough is home to mute swans, busy coots, mallards, tufted ducks and goldeneyes, and you can even climb the Crag if you fancy it.

Close-up of a female Large Heath butterfly resting on blade of grass
Female Large Heath butterfly | © National Trust Images/Matthew Oates

Wildlife at Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian's Wall has lush green fields, plenty of watering holes and lots of nooks and crannies - an ideal home for a range of wonderful wildlife, including some rare species such as the large heath butterfly.

Birds to look out for include the house martin, wheatear and meadow pipit. You will also see swallows, who return each year after spending the winter in Africa.

Butterflies to spot include the large heath butterfly, and the orange tip.

Visitors taking part in Nordic walking along the wall at Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort, Northumberland

Discover more at Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort

Find out how to get to Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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