The Western Section of Hadrian’s Wall begins at the Poltross Burn Milecastle in Gilsland. Following the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail takes you to Willowford and the ruins of the Roman Bridge across the River Irthing. High above the river is the Roman Fort of Birdoswald where excavations clearly show the design of the fort.
Travelling west the landscape changes to archetypal English pastoral scenery. Just to the south of the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail is the magnificent red sandstone ancient Lanercost Priory, the eastern part of which is a photogenic ruin. The road by the Priory takes you to the picturesque small town of Brampton with its Market Square and unusual octagonal Moot Hall. The next major feature is the historic city of Carlisle with its very attractive centre. Places of interest include the impressive Castle and Tullie House Museum.
As we move forever west the countryside features an abrupt change to the salt marshes of the Solway Firth and eventually the Irish Sea. Set alone on the marshes is the King Edward I monument with its backdrop of the marches and the distant Scottish hill Criffel. A magnificent statue of the King stands by the pub in the nearby village of Burgh By Sands. As we near the final destination of the east-west walk we pass through Port Carlisle with the long defunct canal to transport cargo from ocean going vessels to Carlisle city centre many miles away. The canal was replaced in 1854 with a railway line built on top of it – that is also now defunct.
Finally – Bowness on Solway is the end of our journey. Bowness is a delightful little village. If you are lucky in between the end of February and early September you may see the still practiced Viking form of fishing called “Haaf Netting”. This is the only placed it is permitted in the UK.