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Cycling in Northumberland

There are plenty of fantastic cycle routes in Northumberland that take you through green forests, pretty towns and along the breathtaking coastline.

Courtesy of the Northumberland National Park, here are their top five cycle routes in Northumberland:

Cycling in Northumberland

Sandstone Way

The Sandstone Way straddles the border of Northumberland National Park, stretching from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Hexham. The 120-mile route is route suitable for intermediate or experienced riders, however, the challenging sections, which are few and far between, has a demanding distance and the terrain can be rough at times.

The Sandstone Way is iconic for its evolving landscapes, ancient historical sites and small communities spread throughout the route. The views are definitely rewarding and you’d be hard pressed to find another path that offers such a variety of our county’s famous scenery.

Kielder Forest

Kielder Water and Forest Park is a jewel nestled in the heart of Northumberland. Kielder Lake is the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe and at 250 miles, Kielder Forest is the largest in England. Boasting super off-road tracks and scenic family-friendly paths, Kielder is great for groups of all sizes and abilities

The Bloody Bush route is recommended if you’re feeling adventurous. At approximately 20 miles each way, this route takes you through wild terrain and promises stunning views over the surrounding areas.  Some parts on this trail can be extremely strenuous, so is only really suitable for experienced long-distance riders or for those who feel confident with cycling medium distances off-road.

For families, the much more accessible Borderline Cycle Trail is roughly 7 miles in length and follows a much easier path – making use of a now disused railway line that stretches northwards. Whichever trail you choose, visit Kielder and you’ll be guaranteed to see what makes Northumberland one of the most scenic places in the British Isles.

Forest Trail in Kielder Park, Northumberland Stablewood Coastal Cottages
Cycle routes in Northumberland Stablewood Coastal Cottages

Coast to Coast

A legendary route spanning the width of England, the Coast to Coast takes you from the Irish Sea on the west coast of Cumbria to the North Sea on the east coast of Tyne & Wear.

Along the way, you’ll ride through much of Northumberland’s impressive rural scenery and stop off at many of the region’s charming villages too. At nearly 140 miles, this is one of the most famous long-distance cycling routes in Britain. If that sounds a little too far for you, the route can easily be chopped into smaller, more manageable sections for a family day out.

Whether you challenge yourself to the full 140-mile stint or you just take on a smaller section, the Coast to Coast route promises to be an adventure from start to finish.

Coast and Castles

You definitely don’t want to miss out on visiting the Northumberland coast while staying with us in the area. With miles upon miles of idyllic sandy beaches and some of the region’s most iconic ancient castles standing proudly by the shore, the Northumberland coastline is undeniably picture-perfect. The Coast and Castles route, stretches all the way from the Scottish Borders at Berwick-upon-Tweed to the mouth of the River Tyne at Tynemouth, encompassing some of the greatest views and sights in Northern England.

You can easily cut down the route into a day-long ride from Bamburgh to Amble. Starting at Bamburgh Castle, you’ll pass through the seaside town of Seahouses before riding through Embleton, Craster and Alnmouth on quiet country trails. If you’re up for the challenge of riding the entire Coast and Castles route, there are plenty of picturesque places to stop off along the way. Slightly off this path, but well worth the 4-mile trip inland from Alnmouth, Alnwick is brimming with shops, sights and welcoming locals.

Lindisfarne (Holy island) - The castle, Northumberland Stablewood Coastal Cottages
Harwood Forest hiking, Northumberland, Stablewood Coastal Cottages

Harwood Forest

Tucked into the green conifers of Northumberland National Park, the cycling journey through Harwood Forest is perfect for a fun family day out. This forest is an absolute must for cyclists on the hunt for a quiet route – as you’ll find few people here but plenty of beautiful scenery.

The trail through this secluded forest is around 27 miles long, though there are dozens of other off-road tracks you could use if you were looking for a more substantial challenge. With no traffic, few people and, if you’re lucky, a few deer to spot, this is a sanctuary for nature lovers or for those just looking to get away from busy city life.

Northumberland is brimming with stunning scenery – and, on a bike, you can take advantage of the quiet trails meandering their way throughout the area. In Northumberland, you’re never far away from remote forests, unspoilt stretches of coastline or fascinating historical sites – and, by taking on these iconic cycle routes, you’ll be sure to see plenty of them along the way.