If you have always fancied exploring Hadrian’s Wall, Sycamore Gap is conveniently located just a thirty-minute drive from the Glamping Pods and twenty minutes from Sycamore Cottage.
Sycamore Gap is a popular site to visit along the Wall and incorporated into a day out with visits to The Sill and Vindolanda, you really feel you are making the most of your trip.
Why visit Hadrian’s Wall?
Covering an impressive seventy-three miles coast to coast, Hadrian’s Wall stands up to six meters high in places and was built by the Roman soldiers to guard the north-west frontier.
There are various points of interest along the wall including Roman Fort sites like Vindolanda and Birdoswald. You can visit the Roman Army Museum or Chesters Roman Army Museum.
Hadrian’s Wall ends in (unsurprisingly) Wallsend in Newcastle. However, the most visited part of the wall is in the parish of Henshaw, between Haltwhistle and Haydon Bridge.
Thought to be one of the most photographed spots in the whole of the Northumberland National Park, Sycamore Gap found it’s fame because of its dramatic location. Oh, and it just so happened to be in the 1991 film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, giving it a new title of the “Robin Hood Tree”.
You can park at the Steel Rigg car park (postcode NE47 7AN), which costs £2 for a day ticket. Try and arrive early in the day as this is only a small car park and can fill up quickly.
There are traffic cones on the side of the road leading up to the car park, encouraging visitors not to park on the roadside and to stick to actual parking spaces.
If you can’t get into the car park at Steel Rigg, backtrack down the hill you drove up and use the car park at The Sill.
This will add on a short fifteen minutes to your walk.
Parking at The Sill is calculated on the time you have spent there, cameras making a note of your number plate upon arrival, and you then pay before exiting the car park. From paying at the machine you then have fifteen minutes to leave.
There are two routes that will take you to Sycamore Gap. Both are a similar length, but one involves a steep climb and decent, whereas the other is mostly flat.
A good walk to incorporate Sycamore Gap and The Sill:
Heading towards Sycamore Gap the hilly route, before then looping back along the flat. This makes a nice 2.1 mile walk altogether, so a great one to do with the kids.
If you park at The Sill, head out to the main road from the car park and turn left which will then bring you up to the B6318 road. Once crossing straight over here, you will come to a small gate which leads to a safe footpath, so you avoid crossing at the road junction.
Head up the road, away from The Sill for about half a mile. You will walk past two National Trust owned holiday cottages. Just behind the second of the cottages, you will come to a kissing gate and a Hadrian’s Wall footpath sign. Head through the gate and along to the right-hand side of the field. This then joins you up with the footpath those who parked in the Steel Rigg car park, will be on.
You will approach a dry-stone wall with a large gap to the right and a narrower path to the left. This is the point where you decide whether you take the steep climb or the flat route.
Head to the left and follow the path from here, uphill and down, all the way to Sycamore Gap. This is approximately 1 mile. While the climb is steep, the path is laid out with stone steps, so means it isn’t too much of a challenge.
The views from the top of the hill are spectacular. You are walking alongside Hadrian’s Wall so that also feels a little bit exciting.
Along this walking route you pass Milecastle 39, a well-preserved part of the wall that is a must see for history lovers.
After dropping down into the dip where the famous tree at Sycamore Gap stands, you may want to sit for snacks, take photos and even let the kids have a run around. It feels pretty sheltered in this part and plenty of people pull out picnics or simply take in the views.
Once you have finished here, you can either follow the path up the hill in front of you to make the walk longer or start to head back. This is the point where you can join the flat route to walk through fields back to the holiday cottage that marked the start of the road walking. This part, while flat, is particularly boggy so make sure you have some good walking boots on.
The path is very easy to follow, and the views are very impressive.
For the Steel Rigg Car Park and The Sill, use postcode: NE47 7AN
A longer circular to incorporate Vindolanda, Sycamore Gap and The Sill
Northumberland National Park Authority have a lovely 6 mile circular walk which is one of our personal favourites. Allow around 3 hours for this walk which which wraps along a stretch of Hadrian’s Wall with some of the most iconic sections such as Crag Lough and Sycamore Gap. Once it drops down south you pass a fantastic limekiln, and skirt along Vindolanda passing a thatched cottage back along to The Sill.
Download the longer route here: