Stats: 55 miles and 2400 feet of ascent
Cafes at: The Cycle Hub, Thornley Woods, Consett, Parkhead Station
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.
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.