Housesteads to Sycamore Gap

This route follows a number of well kept paths to guide walkers from the Roman Fort at Housesteads along Hadrian’s Wall to the iconic Sycamore Gap. The paths followed are well signposted and maintained making this walk very easy, though there are some steep sections that add some challenge.

Circular | 8.14km (5.1 miles) | Difficulty: Easy

Please note that the route given is a rough guide and should not be relied upon solely when planning a walk. Remember to plan ahead, get a proper map and ensure you have the right equipment.

The route starts at the Housesteads car park and heads up to Hadrian’s Wall and follows it West. Though there is a National Trust/English Heritage shop at the car park you need to pass through you don’t need to pay for admission unless you intend to look round the Housesteads Roman Fort. Walkers could follow the route in any direction, the anti-clockwise approach is written up as it leaves the easier sections till later allowing the more challenging parts to be tackled earlier on.

1: The route starts by leaving the car park (through the National Trust/English Heritage shop) and heading uphill towards the Roman Fort.

2: Walkers here have the opportunity either at the shop or at the museum near the fort to buy tickets to look round Housesteads, this is well recommended. After viewing (or skipping) the fort the route heads uphill through the field to the West of the fort and through a gate which will deposit walkers right next to Hadrian’s wall.

3: The route now follows the track West which keeps close to the wall, first through a wooded area then out across the moorland as it skirts around old watch towers and small dips. Eventually the track heads down a steep hill past Hotbank farm before eventually reaching a small farm lane.

4: Here walkers should cross the lane and follow the sign post to the North pointing into the wooded area. The path here climbs uphill through the trees taking walkers to the top of the crag. The route follows this path as it heads over the crag then down into the iconic Sycamore Gap.

5: At the tree the route heads South to a path running parallel to the one taken in the previous section and follows it East across the fields back towards the farm lane. Here the route crosses back over the lane and retraces an earlier part of the route, this time heading uphill past Hotbank Farm.

6: Before the top of the climb, the route turns East early and away from the wall. The route now follows this track Eastward all the way back to Housesteads. Upon returning to the fort walkers can follow the first section of the route in reverse to head back downhill to the car park.

The car park at Housesteads is operated by the Northumberland National Park and can be quite costly. An alternative could be to park at the Steel Rigg car park to the West of the Sycamore Gap and start the route from there following Hadrian’s Wall Eastward – this adds an extra 2 miles to the route. Beverages can be purchased from the Museum or National Trust/English Heritage Shop at Housesteads.


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