Hadrian’s Wall – Northumberland
Address: Gilsland, Brampton, Cumbria, CA8 7DD
During our stay at the wonderful Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant, we could not miss out on visiting this dog-friendly walk full of history and beauty.
Stretching 73 Miles long we knew this would be too long for us to walk with the dogs in the time we had, so with this in mind we chose to start our dog walk at Birdoswald Roman Fort. We started here as this is where the longest continuous stretch of Hadrian’s Wall still remains today.
As we walked Yianni and Yoko enjoyed investigating the wall by poking their heads through the holes at the bottom one after the other – something us and other walkers were amused by on our walk.
After the laughter of watching two French bulldogs do crazy things, it triggered the thought of the Roman soldiers which had once patrolled and guarded their empire against incoming invaders and I left with the question – what/if any roles did dogs have during this time?
This was a question that I couldn’t leave unanswered so before writing this blog I got to researching. My first find was an article from the BBC news which wrote about the remains of a Roman dog that still had its hair intact after 2,000 years. It was found on a dig site at the Vindolanda Fort which is just south of Hadrian’s wall. The breed is still to be determined, but I will be sure to update the blog once the results have been released.
Following this article I found the dogs recorded to be used in Roman times were referred to as Molossus dogs or Molossers - this breed is considered to be the ancestor of today’s Mastiff-type dogs. With their weight being recorded over 200Ibs they were trained by the Romans and sent into battle with protective spiked metal collars and mail armour. I was left to wonder if the remains found will be that of a Molossus or a completely different breed?
Back to real time and our peaceful walk along with the ancient ruins. The history is not the only pleasure you will get from walking here. The views were a wonderful backdrop to watching Yianni and Yoko running and playing in the fields, sniffing all of the new scents in the area and investigating the ruins of the Harrows Scar Milecastle and Wall.
Down from the wall, the path leads to a lovely wooden bridge which crosses over the calm waters of River Irthing. The bridge is gated so if you are walking with your dog’s off lead they cannot escape and follow the scent of the sheep in the neighbouring field – something Yianni and Yoko sniffed out as soon as we got to the bridge!
Once the need for locating the smell of the sheep had subsided and the pull of adventuring into the shallow waters edge took over, we spent some time exploring along the river. Yianni and Yoko smelt and marked everything they could while we sat and enjoyed watching them investigate while taking in the area.
Have you ever listened to one of those calming sounds playlists that play the sound of water? This area of our dog walk was like a live version of that. I wish I had recorded the sound to play at home for times of relaxation!
From here we continued to explore the path and the other ruins. Along our walk, we met a lot of other walkers with their hiking backpacks and other dog walkers, most of which lived in the area.
Before our walk we were also aware that sheep can be roaming the fields, so please be aware of this if you visit and your dog is off their lead exploring. Also as with most dog walks in this stunning area of England, expect hill walking, so comfortable shoes/boots are a must!
We love to hear from our readers, so if you have ever been to Hadrian’s Wall or have any recommendations for other dog walks, please let us know in the comments below.
To end we would like to sum up what this walk will offer you in 3 words – History, Peace, Education.
Love from the Aurora Pets Team x