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Visitors admiring the autumn view on their walk along the footpath at Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort, Northumberland
Visitors admire the view on their walk along the footpath at Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Fort | © National Trust Images/John Millar
North East

Housesteads to Steel Rigg circular walk

Explore Hadrian's Wall country on this 8-mile circular walk starting at Housesteads Fort. One of the richest parts of the country for Roman archaeology, this trail allows you to get close to the Wall that was built in AD 122 and appreciate the surroundings.

Entry fees

Entry to the fort is free to National Trust and English Heritage members. There are charges for non-members.

Total steps: 8

Total steps: 8

Start point

Housesteads visitor centre, grid ref: NY793684

Step 1

Leave Housesteads visitor centre and take the main path up to Housesteads Fort. Keep to the left of the fort and join the Hadrian’s Wall Trail in the woodland at the top of the hill, heading west.

Step 2

Until now, you will have been walking on the south side of the wall. After passing the earthworks of Milecastle 38, cross over the farm track at the bottom of the hill and switch to the north side of the wall, following the path through Crag Lough woods. (For a shorter walk, follow the footpath north past the farm above the Milecastle and pick up from step 6)

Step 3

As you drop down the crag to walk through the wall at Sycamore Gap, look out for the large lumps of mortar on the face of the stones on the north side of the wall. This mortar is all that remains of a render that would have covered the entire wall. From here, keep following the trail west to Steel Rigg car park.

Step 4

Leave Steel Rigg car park and head right, following the road down the hill for 109 yards (100m).

Step 5

The footpath is signposted on the right. Go over the stile and along the track and then take the field path to Hotbank Farm. As you pass Peatrigg Plantation on your left, the earthworks on the slope to your right are of the original Steel Rigg Farm from the 17th century.

Step 6

At Hotbank Farm, keep on the track heading away from the buildings and follow the public footpath waymarks heading east. Stay to the north of the plantation. You'll pass the remains of a lime kiln once used to heat the limestone that was quarried from the area to make lime mortar. Keep going east along the farm trail, heading to the centre of the next plantation.

Step 7

Just before heading through the plantation, you'll see a circular dry-stone wall in the middle of the field on your right. This sheepfold was a pen a shepherd could gather his flock in for routine checks and examinations. As you leave the plantation, follow the public footpath waymarks towards the gate through the wall to the south-east.

Step 8

From here, cross to the south side of the wall again and follow the path back to Housesteads Fort, then take the main footpath back down the hill to the visitor centre.

End point

Housesteads visitor centre, grid ref: NY793684

Trail map

A map of the Housesteads to Steel Rigg circular walk
A map of the Housesteads to Steel Rigg circular walk | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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