A SCHEME that aims to boost environmentally-friendly tourism around Hadrian's Wall will open this weekend.
The Hadrian’s Wall passport scheme will start on May 1, with passport stamps available at sites along the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall National Trail route until October 31.
This year an extra stamp is available from Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle where a new Roman Frontier gallery will open on June 25.
A total of 10,600 people walked the Wall trail end to end last year, taking an average of seven days to complete it. Thousands more people took shorter walks around the Roman sites and on the specially planned circular routes.
Nigel Mills, access director for Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd, said: “The summer passport is a fun way for walkers to record their journey as they go and gives them a lasting record to take home. But it also has a serious side as part of the conservation of the archaeology and landscape around Hadrian’s Wall.
“Many areas of the trail are archaeologically important. Earthworks and masonry may be visible but equally they may lie buried underneath the path.
“So as part of our Every Footstep Counts code we encourage people to walk during the drier summer months when the ground surface is generally stronger, we ask walkers not to walk on the Wall itself and to walk side-by-side rather than in single file to spread the load.
“We also have a programme of ongoing ground maintenance.”
Condition assessments are based on photography at fixed points in spring, summer and autumn. Rainfall figures from the Met Office are also used.
Readings from people counters along the length of the Wall are taken at least monthly, and there is also an annual autumn survey of the condition of the path and the underlying archaeology.
Passports are available from www.hadrians-wall.org at £2 and completion badges and certificates (£3.95) are available for people collecting all seven stamps.