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Heddon-on-the-Wall - geograph.org.uk - 1038486.jpg
Heddon-on-the-Wall is located in Northumberland
Location within Northumberland
Population1,563 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceNZ135665
Civil parish
  • Heddon-on-the-Wall [2]
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtNE15
Dialling code01661
AmbulanceNorth East
EU ParliamentNorth East England
UK Parliament
List of places
54°59′35″N 1°47′28″W / 54.993°N 1.791°W / 54.993; -1.791Coordinates: 54°59′35″N 1°47′28″W / 54.993°N 1.791°W / 54.993; -1.791

Heddon-on-the-Wall is a village in Northumberland, England, located on Hadrian's Wall. Heddon-on-the-Wall is roughly 9 miles (14 km) west of the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, and just outside Throckley. The place-name 'Heddon' means 'hill where heather grew'.


The place-name ' Heddon on the Wall' is first attested in the Pipe Rolls for 1175, where it appears as Hedun. It appears as Heddun in 1262 and as Hedon super murum ('Heddon above the wall') in 1242. The name comes from the Old English hæth-dūn, meaning 'hill where heather grew'.[3]

The name should not be confused with that of East Heddon and West Heddon, where the name means 'Hidda's pasture'.[4]


A Roman milecastle ('Milecastle 12') was located at the site of the present-day village, under what is now Town Farm, but no traces of it are currently visible. Prior to the 1960s, Heddon-on-the-Wall was a small village with an economy based strongly on traditional industry including farming and coal mining.

Large-scale coal mining close to the village began in the late 1950s with the opening of the Bays Leap, a 120 hectares (300 acres) opencast mine site located a short distance north of Heddon-on-the-Wall. The site supported seven coal seams at its peak, and evidence was found of earlier mine shafts. Bays Leap closed in 1966. Urban development west of Newcastle saw the village expand substantially during the 1960s.[5]

Heddon-on-the-Wall grew up around Hexham Road, which until 1973 was the main road from Newcastle to Hexham.[6] The new A69 road bypasses Heddon-on-the-Wall en route from Newcastle to Carlisle, also passing Hexham. Heddon-on-the-Wall benefits from its proximity to the A69 but is more popular with retired people rather than commuters due to its lack of a railway station, from which its close neighbour Wylam benefits. A railway station on the Scotswood, Newburn & Wylam Railway was opened in the village in 1881, but closed in 1958.[7]

Heddon-on-the-Wall came to prominence when it was revealed in February 2001 that the 2001 outbreak of Foot-and-mouth disease originated from a farm in the village.[8] This severely affected Heddon-on-the-Wall's primary industry which is agriculture. Over the years however other industries have existed in Heddon-on-the-Wall. These include salmon fishing in the River Tyne, coal mining, the quarrying of sandstone and limestone, and brick making.[9] Wylam Brewery was established at South Houghton Farm in 2000 before moving to Newcastle in 2016.[10] A number of blacksmiths were in the village until recent times. In the seventies there was a perfumery manufacturing business.

Culture and facilities[edit]

Heddon-on-the-Wall attracts tourists passing through on tours of Hadrian’s Wall. Heddon-on-the-Wall is located on the Hadrian's Wall Path, and contains the longest section of unbroken wall at its original and planned width, now known as Broad Wall. Later sections were not built to the full width to save time and money.

St Andrew's Church is located opposite the Swan Inn and parts of it are Saxon dating back to 680 AD. It was originally consecrated in 630AD.[9] The oldest parts of St Andrew's are still visible in some of the walls of the chancel behind the choir stalls. The original stone structure was built using recycled stone from Hadrian’s Wall. Before St Andrew's church was built it is believed[by whom?] that the site was used for pagan ceremonies, so the hilltop location may always have been of religious significance.

Heddon-on-the-Wall has two public houses, The Three Tuns and The Swan Inn.[9]

Based in East Heddon is the Selman Park Sports Field, which is home to local club "Heddon Juniors FC". Founded on 1 July 2017, the Junior Club offers football for players aged 5 year old upwards.

Freedom of the Parish[edit]


  1. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  2. ^ http://www.parish-council.com/heddononthewall/
  3. ^ Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.231.
  4. ^ Ekwall, op. cit.
  5. ^ "Walking around Hadrian's Wall: Heddon-on-the-Wall" (PDF). National Trails. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
  6. ^ "Castle Morpeth District Local Plan 1991 - 2006". 19 February 2004. Index: Chapter 8 - Roads and Transportation. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  7. ^ Young, Alan. "Disused stations: Heddon-on-the-Wall". disused-stations.org.uk. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Foot and mouth: Tracing the epidemic". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  9. ^ a b c "Heddon on the Wall Parish Council". Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  10. ^ Brewersjournal.info. Northern Powerhouse - The story of Wylam Brewery.

External links[edit]