[5th World Trails Conference 2015] Trail Resuscitation and Restoration (2) | Hadrian’s Wall Path | The Challenge of Managing Visitors and Archaeology

5th World Trails Conference 2015

#101 Concurrent Session | Trail Resuscitation and Restoration (2)

Hadrian’s Wall Path | The Challenge of Managing Visitors and Archaeology


 David  McGlade – National Trail and Volunteer Officer

Thursday, January 15, 2015, Seogwipo ICC


Presentation Slides Download (PDF)


It gives me great pleasure to talk to you today about my 20 year project on Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail.

So carrying capacity and Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail – the challenge of managing visitors and archaeology.

Hadrian’s Wall Path follows the line of Hadrian’s Wall in the north of England.

Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site. Hadrian’s Wall is an ancient monument of international significance. The wall was constructed in 122 AD under the orders of the emperor Hadrian and it marked the northern limit of the Roman Empire.

80 Roman miles long long it was a complex structure with forts, mile castles, defensive ditches and roads.

We have two ariel views of the wall showing a mile castle, the smaller turret.

The Roman occupation of Britain ended in 410 AD but the Wall has left a permanent mark on the physical and social landscape of Britain.

In 1987 UNESCO recognized its importance in world history by awarding it World Heritage status. That has helped to promote the Wall as a tourism destination.

And today there are now 14 National Trails in England and Wales totaling over 3,500 KM.

I would like to show you some general views showing Hadrian’s Wall and National Trails at their very best.

This is the World Famous Houseteads Roman Fort in the middle of the wall.

And some more views of the wall and the national trail alongside it.

Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site is one of the most legally ‘protected’ landscapes in the world. However, the 1,900 year old Wall and its associated archaeological earthworks without appropriate management are easily damaged.

Sections of the wall will actually collapse if people are allowed to walk on top of it. Here we see erosion in 1991. This was before the national trail was established. This is actual damage to the archaeology of Hadrian’s Wall.

Here we have drainage problems where visitors are forced to walk on top of a monument.

And I ask the question: ‘Is this much damage acceptable or is it damage at all?’

Or is the answer to construct engineered paths everywhere?

Why then if the wall is so sensitive why develop Hadrian’s Wall Path?

In 1984 it was suggested that the best way of reducing the risk of erosion and damage to the wall was to spread visitors over a much wider area.

A 135km walking route was researched and subjected to considerable archaeological scrutiny. It received government approval in 1994 and finally opened in May 2003.

However, there was a condition. The government insisted that the trail’s clear aim is to manage it as a green sward (which means a ‘grass path’).

In the World Heritage Site Management Plan it states: ‘Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail should be proactively managed primarily as a grass sward surface to protect the archaeology underfoot and the setting of the World Heritage Site’.

Now a green grass sward path like this one. But not like this. And this is the same site.

A beautiful green sward path like this? And the same site in winter like this. In an area in winter soils become water logged.

So why is it important to maintain the green sward path?

The answer is because everywhere underfoot there is the likely-hood of finding archaeology. A green sward is considered the best way for both the archaeology as well as the landscape setting of Hadrian’s Wall itself.

Here are some examples of what I call near-surface archaeology.

It might not look like very much, but it is archaeology.

And in this picture this is all that remains of Hadrian’s Wall. There’s even less in this picture.

Remember the wet area in the earlier slide? We accidentally came across a Roman well. So everywhere there is the likely-hood of finding archaeology.

So carrying capacity. Archaeological earthworks, high rainfall and large numbers of people conflict with each other it is impossible to say how many people the landscape can take before their is damage and we believe it is much better to achieve consensus of all organizations by defining and working towards the agreed quality standards.

So let’s just reflect on a moment. I have some photos of Hadrian’s Wall taken in the 1890s. And I the same views today. I just wonder will the Wall look the same in another 100 years time.

A photo in the 1890s. And today.

It really hasn’t changed much at all.

Another view from the 1890s.

Nothing has changed. Even the sheep are still there on the hillside.

Continue reading [5th World Trails Conference 2015] Trail Resuscitation and Restoration (2) | Hadrian’s Wall Path | The Challenge of Managing Visitors and Archaeology

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[Jeju Olle Trail Interview] A South African passion for Korea’s Jeju Olle Trail and Kyushu OIle in Japan

A South African passion for Korea’s Jeju Olle Trail

Unplanned weekend Jeju trip turns out well for one Olle walker

Karl Graf was in Seoul and saw an airplane coming in to land a day before the June Jeju Olle Trail “Walk Together” event was scheduled to take place.

“I checked Facebook on my phone and saw an announcement about ‘Walk Together’ and I put two and two together,” he says.

Another day later and here he is in the countryside setting of Jeoji Village on Jeju Island.

The South African, who spent time working on the island as an English teacher, but has now relocated to the mainland, has just successfully finished an 18.8 km walk on Route 14-1.

Graf also became one of the first foreigners to complete the Jeju Olle trails, finishing them all on the same day the final route, Route 21, opened in 2012.

 “I always finish a route with a feeling of satisfaction… you are tired, but it is a nice feeling that you have,” he says.

“Walk Together” is a monthly event held by Jeju Olle Trail which is supported by Olle office staff and Olle founder Suh Myeong-suk. It is almost like a mini-walking festival.

On Sat. June 22 the route selection took in large portions of the island’s Gotjawal forest.

“It is as wilderness as you can get in terms of Olle walking in Korea. You have no cell phone signal. That’s quite a wonderful thing keeping in mind how connected we are in Korea. We’re never away… we’re never isolated… here on this route you reach a sense of isolation and peace… and tranquility,” he says of his experience.

Grad with Olle founder Suh Myeong-suk last year
Graf with Olle founder Suh Myeong-sook

Even though it was a little bit busier on the route due to the event, for Graf it was still a very enjoyable day in which he got to meet a lot of people and learn a lot about Jeju’s culture.

One visitor from Germany took part as did a Korean-American retiree and another retiree from the mainland who acted as a wonderful unofficial guide for the day.

“There was a lot of knowledge bestowed upon us… but one of the interesting things was the stone walls you see and the purpose they serve in creating community boundaries… and preserving soil… and protecting farmland from strong winds,” Graf says. “[Then] the whole idea that as the stones are stacked in the shape of a wall but there are holes… and that sort of serves to protect the stone walls from strong winds.”

Graf has also gone above and beyond the shores of Jeju Island in search of Olle. He can lay claim to being the first foreign Korea-based Olle walker to jet over to Japan for Kyushu Olle.

He walked the Kagoshima Ibusuki course during a long weekend break earlier this year.

“The whole ending of that course was a highlight as far as I’m concerned… finishing late at sunset we did get to see some beautiful birds,” he says. “You get to see a side of Japan that’s quite different from the hustle and bustle… rural Japan.”

In the future he wants to return to Japan to complete more routes, but is also interested in the Yangpyeong Mulsorigil on the outskirts of Seoul. Here the Jeju Olle Trail team was responsible for much of what you can walk.

“I was a bit depressed at the end of last year because I ran out of Olle routes,” he says. “I might come back and re-do some of my favorites. 19 is a favorite and 1, 2, are favorites. 11 too… I’ll probably re-do the whole circuit.”

“It is as close to that ‘peace of mind’ you can probably get in Korea… you get to see Korea is a completely different light when you walk through these small villages and narrow pathways with adjacent stone walls… it is really fascinating,” says Graf.

Jim Saunders | Jeju Olle Trail SNS Volunteer

*This story originally appeared on the Jeju Olle Official Notice Board