Day 2 - Newcastle to Heddon on the Wall

Saturday 14th June - 12.5 miles, 5 3/4 hours

We returned to the river side at 10:00 to resume our walk. The swing bridge was open as we arrived but nothing was passing through. The whole area was surprisingly quiet, even on the path we were only passed by a few people jogging and cycling.

The view back was dominated by the large number of river crossings packed into such a short distance - the Millenium Bridge, Tyne Bridge, swing bridge and Stephenson's High Level bridge. We passed beneath a further 3 bridges as we left the centre of the city behind.

It was a nice walk along the river, with lots of information points detailing the history of the area. Elswick Quays was once the heart of the industrial empire owned by William Armstrong. Now the waterfront is lined with apartments and offices.

Beyond Elswick the route left the riverside promenade to head inland to join a disused railway line towards Newburn. Much of the route was secluded from surrounding buildings by banks or shrubbery lining the path. A short detour off the track was necessary to cross the busy A1.

This disused railway once formed part of the Wylam Waggonway, which was originally built to carry coal to the riverside by horse drawn waggons. Later it was used by William Hedley to experiment with the steam locomotive, the Wylam Dilly.

The path rejoined the riverside at Newburn bridge, and shortly afterwards entered Tyne Riverside Country Park. The area now had a far more rural feel with trees covering the far bank. The only sign of Ryton town was the Church spire rising above the tree line.

The park was busy with people walking dogs, cycling and generally enjoying the afternoon sunshine. We sat for our lunch at one of the many picnic benches through the park.

As we left the park behind the path became smaller and more quiet. It was a very pleasant stretch with large numbers of wild flowers and several swans on the river. We met our first "Wall Path" walker who was on his last section walking in the opposite direction.

The path finally rejoined with the Wylam Waggonway and we took the short detour further along the track to reach the birthplace of George Stephenson. It was the early steam trains passing by that inspired him to become a railway engineer. Later he became instrumental in providing steam locomotion for the general public.

We had a cup of tea in the garden at the back before viewing the interior of the house which is now owned by the National Trust.

A short walk uphill from the railway brought us to the village of Heddon on the Wall. There were good views back along the Tyne valley to Newcastle.

We headed to our B&B for the night - Tyne Valley View.

We had a good evening meal at the Swan Inn, which had just been refurbished.

It was a lovely sunny evening so we walked through the village to see the exposed section of the Wall.

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