Hadrian's Wall gets a path to go the distance

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Hadrian's Wall, one of the country's most treasured monuments, is to be given a pounds 1.35m grant from the national lottery, it was announced yesterday.

The money will help the creation of the Wall Path, a new trail for walkers along the route of the 2nd century Roman fortification.

The path, which will cover 80 miles from Wallsend, in North Tyneside, in the east, to Bowness, on Solway, in the west, will take four years to complete in a project costing a total of pounds 4.5m, said the Countryside Commission. The aim is to enable people to enjoy the wall and the surrounding countryside.

At present, visitors cannot walk near the wall in many areas and have caused erosion in others, making management a high priority.

The Countryside Commission's northern regional officer, Keith Buchanan, said: "Hadrian's Wall is not just for long-distance walkers. It will enable the public to explore and enjoy the length of the wall and open the way to sections of it which are currently less accessible.

"The path provides the right way forward to ensure we preserve the fragile archaeology but still allow people to visit and appreciate for themselves the breathtaking beauty of the wall and the surrounding countryside.

"We are working closely with landowners, farmers, English Heritage, the National Trust, Northumberland National Park and four local authorities to see the project through."

It is hoped that the path will be completed by the summer of 2001. Itis estimated that by 2006, some 10,000 to 20,000 people may walk the whole path each year.

It is expected that visitors, boosted by higher numbers of walkers, will spend pounds 6.94m each year in the area, a boost to the local economy which could support about 80 new jobs.