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The route starts from a car park signed as Thirwell Castle Car Park on the east side of the B6318 between Greenhead and Gilsland at grid reference NY 657 658. The car park has an information board showing the route to the castle ruin.
From the car park go downhill towards a terrace of houses; immediately after the houses turn right through a metal gate signed to Thirwell Castle and National Trails. Go ahead through gates and across the railway via a level crossing – take care. Go ahead over a footbridge across a stream then past another bridge to follow the path marked to the castle and Hadrian’s Wall Walk via a gate.
Follow the path to a metalled lane by houses. The castle ruin is in front of you. The substantial ruin benefits from a couple of information boards. When your visit is complete return via the same route.
If you wish to extend the walk it is worth turning left across the bridge over the burn between houses. Follow the Hadrian’s Wall Walk signs along a clear track as it zig-zags uphill beyond the houses. Go through a farm gate and follow the earthwork uphill. Near the top of the hill you’ll reach a ladder stile - this is where we stopped but the views, even on the miserable day we walked, were well worth the climb. Return to the car park via the same route – remember to turn left on to the path opposite the castle ruin.