Chollerford to Steel Rigg – 12 miles (19 km)

Shortly after leaving Chollerford you’ll come to the Chesters Fort Roman Site which is the most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain. Chesters Fort (Cilurnum) was built in 123 AD just after the completion of the Wall and guarded a bridge, Chesters Bridge, which carried the Military Way Roman road, (not the more modern Military Road), behind the wall across the River North Tyne.

From Chesters Fort the path starts to rise and the countryside becomes moorland, rather than farmland. You’ll start to see a lot more of the Wall and parts of it run along the edge of crags, giving superb views over the open countryside to the north.

3 miles west of Chesters Fort lies Brocolitia, a Mithric Temple, which was probably built by soldiers based at the nearby Carrawburgh fort in about AD 200. The three altars found here were all dedicated by commanding officers of the unit stationed here, the First Cohort of Batavians from the Rhineland.

A further 5 miles brings you to Housesteads which is the extensive remains of an auxiliary fort on the Wall.  The fort was built in stone around AD 124, soon after the construction of the wall began and it has had various names including Vercovicium, Borcovicus, Borcovicium, and Velurtion. The name of the 18th-century farmhouse of Housesteads gives it the modern name.  There is an excellent museum run by The National Trust and English Heritage.

Just after Housesteads the Pennine Way Long Distance Path branches off to the north and continues its journey from Derbyshire to the Scottish Border.

2 miles further and just south of the Wall is Vindolanda, another Roman fort which is run by the Vindolanda Charitable Trust. Here you can enjoy the world famous Vindolanda Writing Tablets and see live archaeology in the summertime.  You can even take part yourself if you book in advance on their website.

West of Vindolanda and back on the Military Road is The Sill, the National Landscape Discovery Centre.  Recently opened it features exhibitions, learning and event spaces, a local food café, a Youth Hostel, rural business hub, and a shop specialising in local crafts and produce.

The upland section along Whin Sill from Housesteads is one of the most dramatic and scenic sections of the Wall and includes the iconic Sycamore Gap with its lone tree.  It is located in a dramatic dip in the Wall and is one of the most photographed trees in the country. It derives its alternative name from featuring in a prominent scene in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, featuring Kevin Costner. The tree even won the 2016 England Tree of the Year award although it’s acceptance speech was rumoured to be a little wooden!!

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A belated but no less heartfelt thanks for making our trip so wonderful!! Your service was impeccable and enabled us to thoroughly enjoy our journey without any worry!  The drivers who moved our luggage were terrific if and when we saw them. Otherwise it seemed like magic, our bags just disappeared and reappeared for us. What a way to travel.

Thank you again for all your help, for answering my endless emails and for making our trip literally seamless and ridiculously easy.  The only thing we had to do was the walking part!! and not having to worry about anything but that made it so much fun!

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