Driving Hadrian’s Wall: the Minor Car Parks IX (Heavenfield)

Heavenfield layby (NCC)

Location: 55.019109, -2.100576 Facilities: a large wooden cross

This small layby (with room for a maximum of about 4 cars) is presumably principally intended for visitors to Heavenfield Chapel, but it has other uses too.

Advice

As ever, be aware that there are car thieves operating, as there are at all of the car parks along the Wall. Stout footwear is advisable.

Heavenfield car park planZone 2 (500m)

Walking northwards leads to Heavenfield Chapel and its Roman altar (1).

Heading eastwards along the Trail reveals a spectacular length of ditch (2) and a view of the Vallum (in the field opposite St Oswald’s Tearoom).

Zone 3 (1km)

Heading westwards along the trail, down the hill, and across the Military Road, brings the visitor to the important section of curtain wall at Planetrees (3).

Zone 4 (2km)

Continuing eastwards on the Trail produces more of this long section of ditch and upcast mound (4).

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Driving Hadrian’s Wall: the Minor Car Parks XIII (Heddon-on-the-Wall)

Heddon-on-the-Wall

Location: 54.996296, -1.789231 Facilities: none

There is no official (or even unofficial) car park for visitors to the length of curtain wall at Heddon cared for by English Heritage, which is both a shame and a puzzling oversight. There is a layby plastered with the words COACHES ONLY (oops!), which is not very helpful unless you happen to have a coach handy. The only alternative is to park on the street and try not to annoy the locals in doing so. I tend to park in Marius Avenue whenever I go.

Advice

As ever, be aware that there are car thieves operating, as there are at all of the car parks along the Wall. Stout footwear is scarcely necessary.

Heddon-on-the-Wall mapZone 1 (100m)

If you park in Marius Avenue, you can peek over the hedge at the slight, but nevertheless detectable, remains of the Vallum (1).

Zone 2 (500m)

Assuming you park somewhere in the village, you can now amble along and look at the splendid section of curtain wall (2), preserved from destruction by dint of the very existence of Heddon, the Military Road being forced to detour round it.

Driving Hadrian’s Wall: the Minor Car Parks VIII (Brunton)

Brunton layby (NCC)

Location: N55.024048, W2.126263 Facilities: none

This layby on the eastern carriageway of the A6079 (between its crossroads with the B6318 Military Road and the village of Wall) provides parking for visitors to Brunton Turret, which is in the care of English Heritage.

Advice

As ever, be aware that there are car thieves operating, as there are at all of the car parks along the Wall. Stout footwear is unlikely to be necessary to visit either the turret or the bridge unless the ground is damp underfoot, but is advisable if extending your visit to Planetrees.

Brunton minor car park mapZone 2 (500m)

Walking eastwards across the field from the layby brings the visitor to an interesting consolidated section of curtain wall either side of Brunton Turret (T26b) (1).

Zone 4  (2km)

Walking north-eastwards and then north-westwards along the B6318 affords access to the Chesters Bridge Abutment (2 although it can more easily be reached from the Chollerford layby).

Following the trail south-westwards along the A6079 towards Wall and then up the unclassified road signposted to High Brunton will lead to the important piece of curtain wall at Planetrees (3).

Driving Hadrian’s Wall: the Minor Car Parks VII (Chollerford)

Chollerford layby (NCC)

Location: N55.030633, W2.129279 Facilities: none

This simple layby on the B6320 (signposted Otterburn and Bellingham at the roundabout), near the village of Chollerford, has enough room for about 8 cars and is useful for a visit to Chesters Bridge Abutment.

Advice

As ever, be aware that there are car thieves operating, as there are at all of the car parks along the Wall. Stout footwear is unlikely to be necessary to visit the bridge unless the ground is damp underfoot.

Chollerford minor car park planZone 4 (2km)

Walking south-eastwards and across Chollerford Bridge brings the visitor to the gateway leading to the path for Chesters Bridge Abutment (1).

Driving Hadrian’s Wall: the Minor Car Parks VI (Tower Tye)

Tower Tye

Location: N55.033124, W2.171290 Facilities: None

Located on the verge, this is an unofficial pull-in, but you will see lots of people using it, from passing motorists to coach drivers.

Advice

As ever, be aware that there are car thieves operating, as there are at all of the car parks along the Wall. Stout footwear is advisable.

Tower Tye minor car park planZone 2 (500m)

The main virtue of this location is that it affords easy access to Milecastle 29 (1) and its splendid earthworks.

Zone 3 (1km)

The fine stretch of consolidated curtain wall at Black Carts is visible to either side of Turret 29a (2) only a short walk to the west. A further stretch of curtain wall (3) is visible west of a minor road.

Zone 4 (2km)

Limestone Corner (4) with its unfinished ditch and giant monolithic debris can also be reached.

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Driving Hadrian’s Wall: the Minor Car Parks V (Walltown)

Walltown (EH)

Location: N54.989116, W2.509743 Facilities: none

This is another small car park (no charge), with room for around a dozen cars (or one badly parked motorhome extravagantly towing a small car), that affords access to the Wall at Walltown Crags. It is located less than 1km east of the Roman Army Museum Carvoran.

Advice

As ever, be aware that there are car thieves operating, as there are at all of the car parks along the Wall. Stout footwear is advisable.

Walltown minor car park planZone 2 (500m)

Heading north from the car park across the designated ‘access land’ brings the visitor to a fine stretch of curtain wall on Walltown Crags (1); one that has featured on many book covers. Walltown Turret (T45a) (2) can be inspected by heading slightly eastwards.

Zone 3 (1km)

A slightly longer walk eastwards reveals first an exposed yet not consolidated length of curtain wall and then the robbed-out site of Milecastle 45 (3), now just humps and bumps (to use the memorably contentious phrase of one former chairman of English Heritage). Further on, the visitor can witness how the course of the curtain wall (4, here a ruinous, grass-covered mound) deals tactically with the many ‘nicks’ or ‘gaps’, by means of a re-entrant.

Zone 4 (2km)

To the east, climbing Mucklebank Crags via the precipitous steps leads to Mucklebank Turret (T44b) (5). Two more re-entrants follow in the line of the curtain wall (6, 7) before the site of Allolee Milecastle (MC44) (8), again robbed out, are reached.

To the west, the intrepid explorer can see the ditch (9) with its upcast mound beyond Walltown Quarry as well as a fine view to the west. Venturing downhill to see the tribal levy stone or Thirlwall Castle may seem like folly when there is Thirlwall View car park to exploit, but some may enjoy the challenge of the steep walk back afterwards.

Driving Hadrian’s Wall: the Minor Car Parks IV (Thirlwall View)

Thirlwall View (NNP)

Location: N54.986259, W2.536535 Facilities: none

This tiny car park (no charge, room for 5 cars) lies midway between the village of Greenhead and the hamlet of Longbyre. It is intended to provide the motorist with parking for a visit to Thirlwall Castle but can also be used to explore neighbouring components of the Wall.

Advice

As ever, be aware that there are car thieves operating, as there are at all of the car parks along the Wall. Stout footwear is advisable.

Thirlwall View car park planZone 2 (500m)

Cross the road and follow the Pennine Way westwards onto the golf course to see part of the Vallum (1). Alternatively, head north along the road to see a short length of curtain wall (2) perched on the top of the cutting.

Heading north and then east and crossing the railway line brings one to Thirlwall Castle (3) with vague hints of the ditch (4) just visible in the field to the west. At Holmhead guest house there is a tribal corvee inscription (5).

Zone 3 (1 km)

Venturing further westwards is rewarded with another fine length of ditch (6). albeit one that is abruptly truncated by medieval and later agricultural activity.

To the east, a stiff climb up Greenhead Bank has the ditch to the right (7) and, near the site of Milecastle 46 (8), a fine view back across Gilsland towards Birdoswald and (on a good day) even further to the Solway Firth. You might prefer to drive to Walltown Quarry car park for a shorter walk to see these.