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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 May, 2004, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Roman trail's first year praised
Tourism chiefs have hailed the first year of the Hadrian's Wall national trail a success.

The 84-mile stretch of wall linking Tyneside to Cumbria opened in May 2003.

It is estimated that more than 3,500 people have walked its length from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway since its launch.

The Countryside Agency, which is responsible for the trail, said 50% of the 6m cost of setting up the route had already been recouped.

A spokesman for the Countryside Agency said the number of long distance walkers using the trail had been substantial.

One in five walkers was from overseas -- with 50% of those from North America.

'Phenomenally successful'

He said latest figures show that in its first year, the trail had generated 3m to the local economies of Cumbria and Northumberland.

That figure does not include spending by around 250,000 people who used the trail as either day or short stay visitors.

A special "passport", which walkers can have stamped at six locations along the route has been re-launched after being withdrawn for the winter.

But this year a winter passport will be on offer which will cover 20 of the 100 or so circular walks off the main trail.

A spokesman for regional development agency One NorthEast, which has recently taken over responsibility for tourism in the region, said: "The trail has widened the appeal of Hadrian's Wall to a whole new audience and has been phenomenally successful.

"It has increased the number of people taking in its unique visitor experience and has been a major economic boost to the rural communities and businesses along the length of the Wall."

Roman trail re-opens
23 May 03  |  Cumbria

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