Roman Wall Circular (Once Brewed)

 ‘A’ David Palmer ‘B’ Margaret Palmer

After a week of constant rain 35 members travelled to Once Brewed National Park Centre stopping for coffee en route at Hexham. Although overcast it stayed dry for the whole of the day. 17 members set out on the ‘A’ walk while after lunch, 16 members did the ‘B’ walk. We joined Hadrian’s Wall footpath near Steel Rigg and rather than start with a steep climb onto Peel Crags we followed a much easier grassy track to the side.  Here we spotted a variety of wild flowers including bog asphodel. A gradual climb brought us to the Wall which we followed with its ups and downs to eventually reach milecastle 39 and sycamore gap. Roman milecastles are fortified gateways, built every Roman mile and often protecting weak points along the Wall. The walk continued below the Wall, once again avoiding the steep ups and downs. This was followed by a steep climb alongside the wall passing Hotbank Farm where 3 of our party opted for a shorter route. The rest carried on and rested at the top of the hill. At turret 37a we left the Wall and headed across the fields on a very boggy path to the limekilns where we sat for our fruit stop.  The walk back to Once Brewed was across grassy fields dodging the muddy bits and at one point circumnativagating a herd of cattle with young calves and a huge bull.  A short stretch of road walking brought us to the Steel Rigg car park and we descended over grassy tracks back to the start of the walk.

Flowers: birdsfoot trefoil, blackberry flower, bog asphodel, bugle, cornflower, cuckoo flower, eyebright, forget-me-not, foxglove, germander speedwell, goosegrass, greater burnet, hawkbit, heath bedstraw, herb robert, leopards bane, meadowsweet, New Zealand willowherb, pignut, purple loosestrife, ragged robin, rest harrow, rock rose, thyme, tormentil, tufted vetch, water aven, woody cranesbill, yellow rattle.

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