Hadrian's Wall - Cycling and Mountain Biking

Hadrian's Wall near Housesteads


Biking is really big news in the area with several national cycle routes in the area including the Hadrians cycleway that roughly follows the route of Hadrians wall, the C2C which runs from the Irish Sea to the North Sea and the Reivers cycle route that follows a route further North through Kielder. There are also alot of good mountain bike trails for a range of abilities through the Kielder forest as well as plenty of other opportunities for shorter bike trips

Hadrians Cycleway

Hadrians cycleway runs for 174 miles from Ravenglass on the Cumbrian coast to South Shields on the North Sea. It passes up the Cumbrian coast via Whitehaven and Maryport to Carlisle and then from Brampton, Haltwhistle and Hexham to Newcastle. Between Newcastle and Carlisle the route goes past Birdoswald Roman fort, but keeps to the South of the wall following the Old Roman Stanegate Road instead of the much busier and less attractive route of the Military Road. The route passes the forts at Vindolanda and Chesters. After Chesters it heads down to Corbridge and the Roman site of Corstopitum and then follows the river Tyne right into the centre of Newcastle, before continuing onto Wallsend. From Wallsend you have the choice of crossing the river to South Shields or finishing at Tynemouth.

The prevailing winds tend blow from the West, so the route is a bit easier going from Carlisle to Newcastle than vice versa.

C2C cycle route

The Coast to Coast Cycle Route links the Irish Sea and the North Sea, it begins at Whitehaven, runs through the northern Lake District, across the North Pennines, through Allenheads in the south of Northumberland and finishes on either Tyneside or Wearside (Sunderland). It's 140 miles long and is usually completed in about 3 to 4 days. Much of the ride is along quiet lanes, remote tracks and disused railway lines.

The Reivers cycle route

The Reivers Cycle Route runs from Tynemouth to Whitehaven (in Cumbria), via the Northumberland National Park, Kielder Water, the Borders, Carlisle and the Lake District. It's 175 miles long and can be completed in about 3 to 5 days. It runs almost entirely along quiet off-road tracks and minor roads and passes a number of sites from the time of the Border Reivers.

For the really energetic, it has been known to combine the route with the 'C2C'.

There are many waymarked trails catering for all abilities and ranging from easy(green) to difficult(black) and up to 26 miles in length. There is also a trail quest area which is specialist cycling zone containing a Trail Quest cyclo-orienteering course and technical off-road sections. Kielder is also on the Reivers cycle route. The trails are graded from black (the extremely challenging “Up and Over” black grade trail, which takes in the 1,900 foot summit of Deadwater Fell on the English/Scottish border) to the green Borderline route that's suitable for all abilities. The 26 mile lakeside way trail encircles the whole of Kielder water.

There is also a new Trials Park, situated just above the trail head car park. With technical features like a rock garden, big ‘orange’ rated’ jumps and a two metre high elevated timber trail, bikers using the new trials park will require body armour, specialist bikes and a steely nerve - it’s not for beginners!

If you haven’t brought your own bike, you can hire one from the hire centre next to Kielder Castle Visitor Centre.

The South Tyne Trail

The South Tyne Trail follows the route of the River South Tyne from the source in the moors of the North Pennines, through Alston to Haltwhistle. The route can also be split into a two sections for some superb walking. Mountain bikes are ideal but the only rough patch is a two mile section near the source so any 'sturdy' bike should suffice. A guide to the 23 mile trail is available priced £2 from local Tourist Information Offices

Bedes Cycle Way

This cycle route has been designed to link the twin anglo-saxon monastery of St Peter's in Wearmouth and St Paul's in Jarrrow. The route covers 13 miles of delightful seascape and rolling hills combining both on and gentle off road cycling.The cycle way passes close to many attractions including Bede's World, Souters Lighthouse and the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. Free leaflets describing the route can be picked up from local Tourist Information Offices