Following a £400,000 investment from the government, the Hadrian’s Wall Connect Project is set to boost tourism numbers in 2016 through a range of improvements to make it easier for visitors to access the unique World Heritage Site.
The Hadrian’s Wall Connect Project is being delivered through the Hadrian’s Wall Marketing Partnership which includes Northumberland County Council, Carlisle City Council, Northumberland National Park Authority, Northumberland Tourism, Cumbria Tourism, NewcastleGateshead Initiative and English Heritage. All these organisations have been working together to develop transport links and enrich business and tourist information along the corridor of Hadrian’s Wall.
The £400,000 grant led by VisitEngland has helped to secure the popular Go North East AD122 bus service for a further four years and will also see the introduction of ‘Hadrian’s Wall Welcome Hubs’ at key visitor locations including Carlisle, Haltwhistle and Hexham railway stations.
The Hubs will provide visitors with direction at key points and improve access and information about some of the lesser known sites on Hadrian’s Wall such as the Epiacum Roman Fort at Alston and the Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport.
The Project has also invested in the design and development of new website and marketing materials to promote the Wall as a leading tourist destination.
The new website at www.visithadrianswall.co.uk is optimised to function on mobile devices to help visitors plan their trips in real-time. It offers everything from pre and post arrival information, to event details, places to visit and travel information to improve connectivity between historical and local business sites along the Wall.
Other improvements include new road signage at key points and increased promotion of existing public transport options to fill gaps in the current provision of public transport.
Councillor Val Tyler, Policy Board Member for Community Infrastructure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, said: “Northumberland is a proud county with a proud history. Hadrian’s Wall marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire for nearly 400 years and we take our duty to protect it, manage it and educate people about the monument very seriously.
“The Wall draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the North of England every year and we owe it to businesses and service providers to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to enable visitors to access our key attractions. I would like to thank VisitEngland for their funding and I am delighted that we have been able to deliver some big improvements in a short time scale.”
The 150 mile Hadrian’s Wall frontier zone runs from the western Roman coastal defences at Ravenglass, through Whitehaven, Workington and Maryport to Bowness-on-Solway, along Hadrian’s Wall through Carlisle and Hexham to Newcastle, Wallsend and South Shields.
There were over 30 forts on the Roman frontier across the North of England, including 16 along the line of the 73 mile wall itself plus coastal, outpost and supply forts. Along the wall there were around 80 milecastles and 160 turrets, a ditch to the north and the great defensive vallum earthwork to the south.
VisitEngland Director Patricia Yates said: “Hadrian’s Wall is one of England’s greatest tourism assets and this investment to improve the visitor experience will drive more domestic and inbound trips, benefiting local businesses and communities and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across the region.”