Heddon on the Wall to Chollerford – 15 miles (24 km)

From Heddon the path moves further into open countryside and joins the Military Road or the B6318 if you prefer its more modern but much less interesting name.  The Military Road is often thought of as a Roman road, (even by locals), due to its straightness. However, the term ‘Military’ comes from the fact that it was constructed by Hanoverian forces in 1746 to supress the Jacobites, (led by Bonnie Prince Charlie), after their uprising the previous year.

The Military Road runs close to the Wall from Heddon all the way to Greenhead, a distance of some 30 miles and is generally thought of as one of the single most damaging operations to the Wall in recorded history.  This is due to large amounts of material from the Wall, (mostly limestone and sandstone), being taken and used for hardcore in the construction of the road.

3 miles to the west of Heddon you’ll pass the turn off to Albemarle Barracks.  The barracks were built on the site of the former RAF Ouston, a Second World War airfield, from which flew a variety of aircraft including Hurricanes and Spitfires. Albemarle is currently the home of the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery whose self-propelled guns can occasionally be seen on the Military Road.

The next 7 miles takes you to Portgate which is a fortified gateway built to allow Deere Street, (a Roman road constructed 50 years before the Wall and now the A68 Darlington to Edinburgh main road), to pass through the Wall itself.

Just south of Portgate is the beautiful village of Corbridge dating from 86AD which was a Roman fort town and known to the Romans as Corstopitum.  Here you’ll find the Corbridge Roman Town museum which is home to the Corbridge Hoard, a collection of Roman artefacts excavated in 1964.

The final 5 miles, (the first part of which has truly amazing views to the north as far as the Cheviot Hills and the Scottish border), takes you to the River North Tyne and Chollerford. On the way you’ll pass Heavenfield which was the site of a battle in 633 or 634 between a Northumbrian army under Oswald of Bernicia, (later St Oswald), and a Welsh army under Cadwallon ap Cadfan of Gwynedd.  Oswald won and Heavenfield is the end of the St Oswald’s Way, another long-distance path in Northumberland coming south from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne to Hadrian’s Wall.

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