Waskerley Way

Waskerley Way

Route Information

Stats: 55 miles and  2400 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Cafes at: The Cycle Hub, Thornley Woods, Consett, Parkhead Station

Character

An entirely off road route using the National Cycle Network, suitable for mountain, hybrid or cross bikes from the heart of Newcastle along the Tyne and Derwent valleys and then the Waskerley Way right on the cusp of the Pennines.


Route

1. Head along the Quayside using NCN 72. Passing the city’s former maritime heritage now converted to expensive apartments, trendy bars and eateries, law courts and hotels, see the Millennium Bridge, go under the iconic Tyne Bridge and follow the quayside path up the river until you meet Scotswood Road.

2. The cycleway continues alongside the dual carriageway, then crosses at the lights and heads up a wooded path and re-joins via an overpass. Cross Scotswood Bridge on the pavement and down to meet the river on its south bank, and then join the river Derwent and NCN 14.

3. This path passes through Derwenthaugh and joins onto the Derwent Countryside Park, a former railway line which used to link the iron ore mines of Consett to the industrial city, remnants of this can easily be seen as you ride over huge towering viaducts which used to carry the line, and overgrown station platforms by the side of the path. Briefly pass through Rowland’s Gill where you can overlook the Gibside Estate, and may see the region’s Red Kite colony swooping overhead.

4. The path continues through the forests, occasionally dipping down sharply to cross the local roads, through Shotley Bridge to Consett.

5. Pick up NCN 7 (be sure to take the turn for Allenheads/Waskerley as the other way heads east to Sunderland) and see the industrial art installations and the landscape gradually change to moorland.

6. Carry on and the path crosses Houndsgill Viaduct and becomes the Waskerley Way, another former railway line that once allowed lead mined from the Pennines to be brought to the city.

7. Pass the Waskerley reservoir and continue up the loose gravel track until you meet the Parkhead Station B&B and cafe.

8. Return by reversing the route back to Ouseburn.




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Tyne River Loop

Tyne River Loop

Route Information

Stats: 44 miles and  860 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Cafes at: Wylam, Blaydon, Baltic Quay, South Shields, Ouseburn

Character

A quiet, mostly off-road loop along both banks of the river Tyne, using a mixture of some road, cycle paths and cinder track, along former railway routes and maritime industrial areas which have been converted to inner city parkland using the National Cycle Network routes 72, 141 and 14. Suitable for MTB, Hybrid or cyclo-cross.


Route

1. Exit the Hub and turn left onto NCN 72, Hadrian’s Way which goes along Newcastle Quayside, under the Tyne Bridge, then on Scotswood road.

2. Leave the Hadrian’s Way at Newburn Riverside with a left turn at the roundabout, then left onto the river path.

3. Rejoin NCN 72 after Newburn Industrial estate and through the park and on past George Stephenson’s birthplace to Wylam. Go through the village and cross the Tyne on the old railway bridge at Hagg Bank, which was the original prototype for the later Tyne and Sydney Bridges.

4. After the bridge, turn left then left again, following the road over Hagg Bank, turn left, cross the railway then turn right into the station car park and join NCN 141, Keelman’s Way, and follow it along the Golf course to Ryton, then Blaydon.

5. After Blaydon station the route continues through the industrial estate to meet the river again, then crosses the mouth of the river Derwent where the route becomes NCN 14.

6. Cross the mouth of the Derwent River and pass the Metrocentre, then cross the road at the traffic lights and right into Dunston. Turn left at the Tudor Rose Pub and follow the new section of the route round the river edge and onto Gateshead Quayside.

7. At the Swing Bridge turn right then left and go under the Tyne Bridge once more, past the Sage concert centre and past the Baltic Centre for contemporary art.

Continue on NCN 14 along South Shore Road and onto Felling Shore path, through the industrial estate and then Bill Quay City Farm and on through Hebburn riverside park.

8. A small bank up to the church then left along the shipyard road to Jarrow then a left onto Jarrow Slake.

9. Join the path alongside the main road then a left to South Shields for the ferry to cross the river.

10. On the other side join NCN 72 again, up the bank and around Royal Quays Marina, through Howden and along the old shipyard rail line, Walker riverside park and back to Ouseburn.




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Three Rivers – Northumberland

Three Rivers – Northumberland

Route Information

Stats: 61 miles and  1650 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Cafes at: Consett, Thornley Woods, Quayside, South Shields, Sunderland

Character

Using National Cycle Network routes 1, 7 and 14 along the Rivers Wear, Derwent and Tyne on a mix of road, tarmac path and solid track.


Route

1. Starting at the Marina, head along the river initially on NCN 1 past the university and under the Wearmouth Bridge to join NCN 7.

2. Follow route 7 along the Wear through a mixture of parkland and former railways out of Sunderland, through Washington and Birtley and past Beamish museum and on into Consett.

3. Pick up NCN 14 for Rowlands Gill/Tynemouth at the C2C junction. Follow the former railway path along the Derwent valley through woodland and past old railway stations and the Gibside Estate until the Derwent meets the river Tyne.

4. Turn right and continue on route 14 around the Metrocentre and into Dunston.

5. Turn left at the Tudor Rose pub and use the new section along the riverside to Gateshead Quays. Pass the swing bridge and go under the Tyne Bridge past the Sage and Baltic Gallery. Continue through the industrial estate, along Felling shore path, Bill Quay City Farm and Hebburn Riverside Park to Jarrow.

6. Once past Tyne Dock and into South Shields where the route meets NCN 1, follow it to the coast then south along the edge of the North Sea past Souter Lighthouse through Whitburn and Roker and back to the River Wear.




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Simonside – Cycle Route

Simonside

Route Information

Stats: 55 miles and  3650 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Cafes at: Kirkley Cycles, N1 Golf Centre, Elsdon, Wallington Hall, The Stables (just before Bolam lake, on right), Bolam Lake visitor centre.

Character

A loop of the Simonside hills overlooking Rothbury and the Coquet valley, returning via Harwood forest.


Route

1. Start at Kirkley Cycles (free parking available) and turn left. Keep going past the golf centre then turn right then next left, follow the road through the burn then take a right for Mitford, passing the pretty church on the left and castle ruins on the right.

2. At the top of the road turn left and continue until a right turn at the Dyke Neuk pub. Follow the road until a t-junction and turn right signed for Netherwitton where a left turn follows the river font to Ritton Bank, a fair climb up to meet the wind turbines (this climb features on the Virgin Money Cyclone sportive).

3. Carry on to Forrestburn Gate and turn right, then a short while later a left for Simonside. The climb ends with spectacular views of the town of Rothbury and the Coquet valley, then drops down through the tiny villages of Great and Little Tosson before meeting the river.

4. Take a left turn onto the B6341, and onto the climb of Bilsmoor (also featured on the VM Cyclone, this one is a timed climb during the sportive), then drop down into Elsdon.

5. At the village, veer left and over the bridge to begin the last big climb of Winter’s Gibbet, which starts off steep through several sharp bends then relents to a gentle straight rise to the gallows on the summit. This was used to hang criminals and cattle rustlers and takes its name from one William Winter who was hanged in 1791 for the murder of Margaret Crozier.

6. The road then rewards with a long arrow straight gradual downhill past Harwood forest. Turn right at the end and pass through the villages of Cambo and Wallington.

7. Turn left just before the bridge then a right and pass Bolam lake, turn left then next right through Bolam village and on to Whalton.

8. Turn left into the village then next right for Ogle.

9. Take a right in the village for Kirkley, pass the entrance for the Hall and zoological gardens and turn left to return to Kirkley Cycles on the left.




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Roman Way – Cycle Route

Roman Way

Route Information

Stats: 38 miles and  2370 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Cafes at: Corbridge, Hexham, Bardon Mill, Haltwhistle, Greenhead, Gilsland, Lanercost, Brampton

Character

A ride through the countryside and through time! A glimpse into the occupation of Britain by the Roman Empire along the northern frontier of Hadrian’s Wall from the Roman fort town of Corbridge to Brampton.


Route

1. Leave the town centre and pass the Wheatsheaf pub on the s bend, then take a left turn onto Corchester Lane.

2. Follow this road as in winds its way toward the thriving medieval market town of Hexham, and enter the town through the industrial estate road and a left turn onto the bridge, take caution this is a busy road but is the only one into the town, then turn right at the roundabout and enter the park.

3. Cross the railway twice and follow the path along the river where you can see the joining of the North and South Tyne.

4. At the end turn right then cross the railway again, best to dismount as the road and rails cross at an angle giving this crossing a reputation for cycle crashes, and continue to Fourstones which was the site of the first official Boy Scout camp in 1908, then on to Newbrough and Stanegate which is the route of the original Roman military road alongside the Wall.

5. After the Stanegate rise, the top of which on a clear day can be seen Cross Fell in the Pennines and Cheviot in Northumberland, the road drops sharply on which take a right turn for the Vindolanda Roman fort excavation site.

6. After the fort follow the NCN 72 signs until you cross the A69 then take a right into Bardon Mill. Carry on along the old Carlisle road through the villages of Redburn and Melkridge to Haltwhistle, which occupies the geographical ‘Centre of Britain’. (Editor’s note – a claim hotly contested by Dunsop Bridge in Lancashire)

7. Turn right then left onto the main street, and again follow the NCN 72 signs out of the town until you meet the B6318, turn left then it’s a sharp descent into the village of Greenhead.

8. Take the first right for the wall fort of Gilsland, cross the bridge and turn left then take another left for Birdoswald which stands on the Roman fort of Banna.

9. Rejoin the route of Hadrian’s Wall, passing Bank’s East Turret, and on to Lanercost with its impressive Priory.

10. Cross the river Irthing and continue into Brampton.




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Reivers Loop North Pennines

Reivers Loop

Route Information

Stats: 90 miles and  5750 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Cafes at: N1 Golf, Kirkley Cycles, Belsay, Bellingham, Otterburn, Elsdon, Rothbury, Felton, Morpeth

Start and Finish: Saint John’s Chapel in Weardale.

Character

Quiet country roads around the heart of Northumberland


Route

1. Head south out of Morpeth over Telford bridge and past the old keep, turn right at the roundabout then left after the golf course.

2. Turn left for Kirkley and then right at Kirkley Hall.

3. Turn left at Ogle, then left again just as you leave the village.

4. At the end turn right, then left for Belsay. Turn right onto the small at the junction then first left.

5. Cross the main road, then after the zig zags turn left then the right signed Ingoe.

6. Follow the road until the junction and turn right for Ryal, go through the tiny village then the exhilarating drop down the hill, at the end of the road turn left, cross the A68 then right for Barrasford.

7. Carry on past Chipchase Castle to Wark and turn left in the village signed for Stonehaugh, take the right fork then a right onto Wark Common.

8. Turn right then left and cross Bellingham bridge and take the first left.

9. At Lanehead turn right, then right again at Greenhaugh.

10. At the B6320 turn left, cross the A68 and carry on to Otterburn.

11. Turn right in the village then take the left fork to Elsdon, go through the village then follow the B6341 to Rothbury.

12. Turn right in the town, cross the bridge then take a left onto Wagtail Road then follow the railway path until the end and turn left, cross the river Coquet and turn right.

13. Turn left at Todstead Farm then right through Longframlington.

14. Turn right then left for Felton, right at Old Swarland and overpass the A1 then Felton.

15. Turn right in the village over the bridge then left round the loop junction.

16. Carry on to the Widdrington Junction and turn right for Ulgham (pronounced Uffham), after the village turn right signed Cockle Park then left for Hebron.

17. In the village turn right and follow the road back to Morpeth, with a left turn onto Pottery Bank.




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Three Counties Classic

North Pennine 3 Counties Classic

Route Information

Stats: 77 miles and  6125 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Cafes at:

• Chatterbox in Saint John Chapel
• The Inn at Rookhope
• The Hemmel Cafe in Allenheads
• The Tea Rooms in Allendale Town
• The Village Pantry in Whitfield
• Blueberries in Alston
• West Natrass near Alston Golf course
• Langdon Beck Hotel at Langdon Beck
• High Force Waterfall visitor centre
• Bowlees visitor centre
• Cafe 1618, Rumours, Greggs, Fryer Tuck’s, Forresters, in Middleton
• Horn Hill Cafe, Dales Centre in Stanhope (requires a small detour).

Start and Finish: Saint John’s Chapel in Weardale.

Character

This is a long route, but is a good day out, or could even be broken in two; and is an exceptional way of seeing all of the best of the North Pennines but without any of the savage gradients the area is known for. Everything, until you leave Middleton, is long gradual climbs never exceeding about 5%. The initial few hundred yards out of Middleton, and the final climb of 3 over Bollihope, are a little steeper but are short, and Alston High Street is a challenge but also short, and because of the cobbles most will probably just push – the locals certainly do!


Route

1. Take what is labelled as a main road but is effectively not, out of SJC and pass through the quaint little villages of Daddry Shield and Westgate, turn left at the pub in Eastgate and head up the valley to Rookhope.

2. Carry on through the area’s clear former lead mining heritage passing derelict mines and farms up a very long but gradual incline until you reach the stone mound which marks the hill top, then a sharp almost alpine feeling drop into Allenheads.

3. Turn right at the crossroad and follow the road all the way to Allendale Town then on to Catton. Take a left turn which is signed for Staward, then left again at the end of the road and begin an exhilarating descent through tight hairpins with amazing views over the Allen Valley to meet the river at Cupola bridge, then continue on through the village of Whitfield and begin the long climb out of the valley.
Keeping an eye to your left, you are rewarded with increasingly impressive views of the valley and Pennines beyond, until you meet Alston Moor at the top. On a clear day, you can get your first glimpse of the summits of the high Pennines of Cross Fell and Great Dun Fell radar station.

4, Reward yourself with the long descent towards Alston, England’s highest market town, and turning left after the garage onto the High Street you will be forgiven for getting off to push up the entirely cobbled 15% incline!

5. As you leave the high street keep going and exit the town past the golf course, after a flat section with views of the Hartside pass on the right, begin another long but gentle climb up past the ski lifts to Burnhope Seat at an altitude of nearly 2000ft. Views again of Cross Fell to the right which still seems to be looming over, then begin nearly 18 miles of descent into the Teesdale valley through tiny picturesque villages and past High Force Waterfall to Middleton-in-Teesdale.

6. Turn left after the bridge and following the signs for Stanhope begin the three tiered climb onto Bollihope Common, the final descent of which goes down the wickedly tight hairpins of Unthank Bank.

7. Once you meet the river take the left turn signed for Brotherlee and follow the old road back along Weardale to Daddry Shield and a left to return to Saint John’s Chapel.




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North Pennine Circular

North Pennine Loop

Route Information

Stats: 75 miles and  6340 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Cafes at Nenthead, Killhope Mines, Saint John’s Chapel, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Brough, Appleby, Melmerby, Hartside Pass, and Alston.

Character

A loop of the south western portion of the North Pennine AONB, taking in the highest passes and the flats of the Eden Valley.


Route

1. Join the Stanhope road and pass through the village of Nenthall then on to Nenthead.

2. Carry on through the village onto the climb of Killhope Cross, pass the Allenheads turn and begin the triple ramped climb to the stone cross at the summit, which is the highest A road in England.

3. An incredible descent takes you into Weardale past the Killhope mines museum and on through Lanehead to Cowshill, take the right fork then through the pretty villages of Wearhead, Ireshopeburn and Saint John’s Chapel.

4. Take a right turn just before the village hall signed for Langdon Beck and begin the climb of Chapel Fell. The road takes a sudden dip then rises again, straightens to cross a cattle grid then small stone bridge and just gets steeper and steeper as it bends back and forth until finally reaching the summit at the quarry, this is the highest paved pass in England.

5. Drop down the other side and turn left at the end and follow the road all the way through Teesdale past High Force and into Middleton-in-Teesdale.

6. After the bridge turn right then a left for Brough. Passing the reservoirs the road steps up in stages onto the moors then drops down into Brough.

7. Go through the high street then take a left signed for Great Musgrave then the left signed Kirkby Stephen then the next right and pass through Little Musgrave.

8. Carry on to the cross road with Mask Road and turn right for Appleby.

9. Enter the town, and cross the bridge, turn left the follow the road out of the town, under the A66 and on to Long Marton, Milburn and Blencarn. Keep going through Skirwith, then to Ousby where a right turn leads to Melmerby.

10. Turn right in the village and begin the 5 mile long but steady 5% or so climb up out of the Eden Valley to Hartside Pass.

11. A long descent to Alston then turn right onto the steep cobbled high street.




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Muggleswick and the Delves

Muggleswick & the Delves

Route Information

Stats: 29 miles and  3150 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Knitsley Farm Cafe near Delves is a cracking spot, and popular with cyclists. Their bangers are particularly renowned, so get yourself along for a bite to eat and a brew.

Character

Quiet and isolated roads and the road around Smidy Shaw Reservior make this a touring cyclists route. It really is a gem of a ride, with a great Pennine hill climb thrown into the mix. This is a cracking route that rolls around superb countryside and will test your climbing skills.


Route

  1. From Consett head out to the Old Mill at Knitsley. Turn left and follow  loop via the junction at Longedge Lane and head along this.
  2. Cross over the A68 before twisting right, via Muggleswick to Edmundbyers.
  3. Leave Edmundbyers towards Stanhope and at the summit turn left to Waskerley and head for home crossing the A68 once more.



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Morpeth Deanery

Morpeth Deanery

Route Information

Stats: 76 miles and  3530 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Cafes at Newbiggin, Cresswell, Widdrington, Widdrington Station, Longhorsley, Kirkharle, Capheaton (only weekends), Belsay, Bolam, Stannington Station, Morpeth.

Character

A route based in Morpeth visiting the coast, the region’s former mining heritage, and some of the smaller less travelled areas of central Northumberland. The route is based on a longer charity ride taking in all 27 churches in the deanery of Morpeth.


Route

1. Starting from Morpeth, exit the town on the A197 (there is a cycle path on the right hand side) and at the top of Whorral Bank, go straight over the roundabout for Longhirst.

2. Passing Longhirst Hall then turn right at the church for Pegswood.

3. Enter the village at the school and continue past the former colliery rows to the junction and turn left.

4. At the roundabout (on which is a statue commemorating the village’s mining past entitled ‘Robin of Pegswood’) go straight on. Carry on through the ancient village of Bothal (look out for the Norman castle on the right) and up the bank.

5. At the end of the road turn right then first left, and left again after entering the housing estate. Carry on along Green Lane past the high school, straight on at the roundabout and right at the lights after the level crossing.

6. Take a left at the roundabout onto Newbiggin road.

7. Turn left for North Seaton Village and join the cycle path to underpass the dual carriageway and into Newbiggin.

8. Turn left in Newbiggin for Woodhorn, and right at the end. Enter Lynemouth and take a right turn to follow the coast to Cresswell. Keep going along the dunes past Druridge Bay and into Widdrington.

9. Take a left at the roundabout then right for Widdrington Station. Follow the road through the village of Ulgham (pronounced ‘Uff-um’) then a right.

10. Take a left for Cockle Park then right at Hebron. Cross the A1, then cross the A697 and follow the road along to a left turn at the junction.

11. Continue until a crossroad and turn right then on to Longhorsley. Turn left and continue to Netherwhitton, turn right then left.

12. Take the first left then a right signed Hartburn. Turn right at the end and go through the village and past Angerton Lake, carry on through Scots Gap to Cambo and turn left. Follow the road past Wallington House, cross the A696 to Kirkharle.

13. Turn left, left again then right, following the signs for Capheaton. Follow the road to the junction and turn left. After the zig-zags cross the A696, and turn left at the end just before Belsay.

14. Take a right, pass Bolam Lake, and right again through Bolam village, and on to Whalton. Turn left then a right for Shilvington. Turn left, then right then left again signed Stannington.

15. Turn right then right again and enter the village, turn left and carry on to the double roundabout to underpass the A1 then a right for Stannington Station.

16. At the end turn left and continue back to Morpeth.




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