Byker to Wallsend (4.5 miles)

byker to wallsend walk map

Exit from Byker Metro Station, turn right, cross the road and proceed straight ahead through Rabygate. This is one of the entrances through the “wall” of the Byker redevelopment scheme which sought to revitalise this area of Newcastle. This award - winning design by Ralph Erskine was once considered a model for local authority housing. As you go through the archway you will see some interesting old stones and remnants of pillars. Before proceeding further ahead, you might like to stop and turn round to view some of the green and blue timber balconies and walkways. Continue down Raby Street for a few hundred yards, crossing Commercial Road, with care, to pass through Raby Cross. After a further couple of hundred yards you should get your first glimpse of the River Tyne as you arrive at the A186 (Walker Road). Cross at the traffic lights, continue your descent and cross over St Lawrence Road. About 100 yards from the river, just beyond a car park area, look out, on your right, for a sign for Hadrian’s Way (A).

Turn left to cross the road and walk ahead. Soon you enter an area of modern housing (St Peter’s Basin). Turn right, just before the Fog on the Tyne and the marina, in the direction “Hadrian’s Way, Lower Route”. Walk to the riverside at Chandlers Quay where, almost hidden in the bushes on your left, is the foundation stone laid in 1989 by the then Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher. As you enjoy your first close look at the river, across the other side, to the right, you should be able to see the floodlights of Gateshead International Stadium. Turn left and continue ahead, crossing the bridge at the Marina Office, and follow the pavement as it continues along the riverside. Soon you pass a Royal Bank of Scotland milepost which indicates on one side that you are on cycleway 72, and on the other side that you are 91/4 miles from the mouth of the Tyne. You then come to the end of the housing and you join a surfaced track (B).

Proceed along the riverside track. You will find shrubs on your left and, on the opposite side of the river, you will see the Friars Goose marina beside the Elephant on the Tyne. Proceed for several hundred yards. Across the river there is an industrial complex. Ignore a road and paths off to the left as you walk through a popular area from which to fish. (If you wish to avoid the short flight of steps that lies ahead, then you need to divert from the riverside path as you come level with a small industrial complex on the opposite bank of the river and just before the path takes a sharp turn to the left. Climb a short way bearing right, then turn right at a Hadrian’s Way sign to descend back to the riverside path near the top of the steps). The riverside path eventually leads you up a flight of six steps, shortly after which you will see ahead Wellstream (suppliers to the oil and gas industry). Before reaching the industrial plant, you arrive at a fork in the path at a brick wall with seating spaces (C).

Fork left, in the direction “Hadrian’s Way Wallsend”, to leave the riverside path and follow the path as it zig-zags up the bankside for a few hundred yards. It then levels off at a green area with two blue benches commemorating the Millennium. There are good views across the river to Pelaw and Bill Quay. Continue ahead along a pleasant tree-lined section and then pass two yellow cranes at the Duco engineering and cable plant on your right, and then housing on your left. Cross a road with care. After a couple of hundred yards, more cranes appear ahead, a reminder of the former dominance of shipyards on the Tyne. After crossing a bridge, you pass the Wincomblee Workshops on your right (D).

Continue ahead to follow the signs for Cycleway 72, with evidence from time to time of the fact that you are following the line of an old railway. Cross a road and proceed ahead behind some renovated post-war prefab housing. The path descends to some traffic lights and under the old railway bridge on your right you will see two plaques, reminders of the significance of the Emperor Hadrian to this area as we approach his “wall’s end” (E).

Cross the road and continue ahead passing the Swan Hunter shipyard, responsible for building a large number of important passenger and naval ships and oil tankers, but now, since its resurgence from receivership in 1993, employing only a tiny fraction of its once huge workforce. On the left ahead, beyond the bridge, you will soon see the viewing tower of Segedunum, while, some 50 yards beyond the bridge, on the right, dwarfed by the cranes, is The Ship Inn. The whitewashed walls on your left house the replica Roman baths of Segedunum. In a short distance, you cross a bridge with the entrance to Swan Hunter below on your right. After a further 30 yards, turn left to leave the cycleway and follow the path as it makes its way to the access road. Cross the road and walk up to the traffic lights, noting the cast-iron clock, formerly the shipyard clock and sited a little further north. To visit the Segedunum complex, turn left and walk a few yards to the entrance. The museum tells the story from Wallsend’s Roman past to its modern industrial heritage. Visitors are welcome to use the cafe and gift shop. To complete the walk, cross over the road (Buddle Street) at the traffic lights. Proceed ahead along Station Road for about 100 yards to Wallsend Metro Station and the end of the walk (don’t be confused by the signs in Latin, just make sure you get onto the correct suggestus for your return journey!).

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