Claims that Hadrian's Wall 'ignores' city

North East heritage chiefs have been accused of “ignoring” sections of Hadrian’s Wall in Newcastle – and have been urged to use its 1,900th birthday to rectify that.

By Daniel Holland
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 2:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 4:27 pm
There are calls for the Hadrian's wall path to be re-routed to take in the turret.
There are calls for the Hadrian's wall path to be re-routed to take in the turret.

The city’s West End is home to multiple Roman remnants including the Denton Hall Turret, Condercum Fort, and the Temple of Antenociticus – yet the area is excluded from the famous walking trail that brings thousands of visitors to the region each year.

Chi Onwurah MP is now leading calls to reroute the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail to follow the true route of the world-famous landmark down the West Road, instead of having it veer off to the more picturesque banks of the Tyne.

The trail also misses out the actual path of the wall through the East End of Newcastle before ending at Segedunum fort in Wallsend.

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The Labour MP led a debate in Parliament on Tuesday in which she asked the government to stop “ignoring” the West End and make sure that trails “stick to the truth”.

She said: “Hadrian’s Wall tends to conjure up images of the wonderful Northumbrian countryside.

“The wall is and was an urban wall too. It runs through the wonderful, vibrant, multicultural urban West End of Newcastle.

“Not everyone knows this. Many tourists are actually directed away from the wall by the National Trail’s Hadrian’s Wall Path and other trails and tours that follow it, such as the Ramblers’ Association and the National Cycle Network.”

Ms Onwurah questioned whether “snobbish elitism” about a deprived part of the city or the presence of large immigrant populations in the West End may have been behind the decision in the 1990s to exclude areas like Denton Burn and Benwell from the trail path, in favour of the “prettier” riverside.

And as a year of celebration begins to mark Hadrian’s Wall’s 1,900th birthday, the Newcastle Central MP called the anniversary a “great opportunity to represent the wall as it was then and now, and move away from the history of exclusion and elitism”.

Hadrian’s Wall Path is managed by a partnership comprising Northumberland National Park Authority, Cumbria and Northumberland County Councils, Newcastle City Council, English Heritage and Natural England.

A park authority spokesperson said: “Northumberland National Park Authority’s role is to maintain the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail on behalf of the Hadrian’s Wall Partnership.

“The route of the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail within Newcastle remains as was originally proposed by the then Countryside Commission in 1993/4 and subsequently approved by the Secretary of State for the Environment in 1994/5. The consultations and discussions about this route were undertaken by the Countryside Commission and, upon SoS approval, then implemented by the various local authorities along the route.”