The path along Hadrian's Wall, which runs from coast to coast, needs to be repaired just months after the trail opened.
Huge numbers of people have tramped along the 84-mile trail, a World Heritage Site, since it opened earlier this year, leading to erosion.
This summer on average 800 people a month have walked the pathway from Wallsend in North Tyneside to Bowness on Solway in Cumbria. The path now needs preventive repair work, which must be carried out in winter, the off-peak season.
It is a blow for the Countryside Agency, which manages the route.
The trail's opening was the first time in 1,600 years visitors could walk the length of the Roman wall.
David McGlade, the National Trail officer at the agency, told the BBC: "We have always envisaged the route as a spring, summer and autumn destination.
"Because we want to protect Hadrian's Wall and maintain it as a destination that we all want to be proud of - we all have a responsibility.
"We are not closing the path in the winter, we are simply asking people to respect the monument, respect the archaeology and just think about when they visit the wall. If the ground is wet, they will churn the ground up. So all we are saying is we need to give the path a rest."
Mr McGlade said there were no major problems but the only time the repairs could be carried out was during the less popular time in the winter.
But local businesses, which have enjoyed a rise in trade since the trail opened, fear it will have a detrimental affect on their trade.
Mark Hendren, who runs the Greyhound Pub in Burgh-by-Sands, Cumbria, said: "How do you keep open if there is no one there to serve?
"I think the Countryside Agency should have thought about things like this before."