Access at Housesteads
Hadrian's Wall, England
Access at Housesteads Hadrian's Wall Reviews
Access at Housesteads Aug 13, 2015
This tip is for anyone who finds walking on rough ground or uphill a challenge. You should hopefully still be able to visit the fort but there are some things to be aware of in advance – things that not everyone tells you!
Housesteads Fort is jointly operated by English Heritage and the National Trust. The latter’s website says “A cleared path is provided for the short walk from the visitor centre to the Wall and Fort” and I noted that ticket seller didn’t explain the walk needed until AFTER people had bought their tickets. The English Heritage website is more helpful: “The fort lies uphill from the car park (a fairly strenuous 10 minute walk on steep gradient). A disabled car park is available. Please ask at the visitor centre for directions to this car park.” They also have a full page devoted to access to the fort: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/housesteads-roman-fort-hadrians-Wall/access
The fact is that the fort is about half a mile on a gravel footpath with quite a steep climb at one point. The path crosses the Vallum, the large ditch that was dug by the Romans south of the Wall to reinforce the defences. Incidentally the name comes from the Latin word which was actually the origin of the English word “Wall”; it meant “stake” rather than ditch and reflects the fact that the defensive Walls built by a Roman army on the march were of tree branches planted upright on an earthen barrier.
This path presents no problem for the averagely fit but is a challenge for anyone unsteady on their feet and (I imagine) very hard work indeed for anyone pushing a wheelchair. Someone with significant mobility difficulties would find it very hard-going and would probably not be able to visit the fort using this route without help from a friend or family member. So have a look at the path if you can before committing to buying a ticket, and ask for the advice you need, as from what I observed it may not be offered. And do ask about that disabled car park as it may make your visit a lot easier.
Part of the Northumberland travel blog
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!