Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, walked the real route of the wall last weekend with several members of the Hadrian’s Wall Trail Partnership. They expressed their desire to explore an official alternative route, which would give walkers on the official Hadrian’s Wall National Trail the option of following the line of the Wall through the West End of Newcastle.
Chi has campaigned for greater recognition of the Wall in the West End, with the official route dropping down to the River Tyne rather than following the course of the Wall down the West Road to the city centre. Chi held a debate on the Wall in Parliament in February to highlight this.
Chi wrote to the Secretary of State, who has the final say on the route of the Trail, who stated that this was a “local matter” and that any proposal for a change or alternative route needs to come from the Trail Partnership, who have now agreed to explore the alternative route. Chi is now hopeful the Partnership will endorse the addition of an alternative route and the Secretary of State will follow their recommendation.
Attending the walk were representatives from Historic England, Northumberland Council, Northumberland National Park, Urban Green, Newcastle City Council, Natural England and the Newcastle Gateshead initiative.
“The West End is one of the best places to highlight the diversity and urban character of the Wall and Roman Britain, and I will want to see it recognised. I am delighted that members of the Trail Partnership were so enthusiastic about celebrating the past and present West End section of Hadrian’s Wall.
The 1900th birthday celebrations are a great opportunity to represent the Wall as it was then and now, and move away from the history of exclusion and elitism. Changing the official route will allow us to celebrate All the Wall.”
Mike Collins, Historic England’s Lead on Hadrian’s Wall said: “This year marks the 1900 anniversary since work started on Hadrian’s Wall. We’re delighted to help facilitate discussion on the importance of Hadrian’s Wall in the West End of Newcastle and what it means to local people.”