ROAD Cycling routes around Northumberland

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Joined: 28 Jul 2020, 1:55pm

ROAD Cycling routes around Northumberland

Postby gilliambot » 28 Jul 2020, 2:00pm

Hello fellow cyclists, a friend and I are planning on a 3-4 day cycling holiday next week and we have settled on Northumberland as we hear it is very nice for long rides.

We have settled on Alnwick as our base but don't know where to go from there. I have found a number of suggestions online but they all seem to be off road orientated which is not what our delicate road bikes want.

Could someone who knows the area suggest some good 100km rides we could do around that area, or places that are bicycle friendly we can stop to re-fuel and admire the view?

Thank you very much

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Location: Northumberland

Re: ROAD Cycling routes around Northumberland

Postby Oldjohnw » 28 Jul 2020, 4:20pm

Up and down the coast. Across to Rothbury, Wooler, Ingram Valley,

Cragside and Wallington Hall great NT places. holy Island. Alnwick Garden. Alnmouth, Warkworth, Amble. You'll need three or four weeks.

Also, look at Cycle Travel and search for round trips.

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Re: ROAD Cycling routes around Northumberland

Postby Galloper » 28 Jul 2020, 7:03pm

Best place to start is with a copy of the regional Sustrans maps, numbers 33, 34 and 40. These show all the local and national cycle routes. They will also show whether they are on or off road. You can order them from Sustrans, your local bookstore or Amazon. The following web page will help:

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Re: ROAD Cycling routes around Northumberland

Postby gbnz » 28 Jul 2020, 8:10pm

I’m Alnwick based, at least 40-50K+ miles in past ten years. I won’t suggest precise routes, but there are 3-4 distinctive landscapes worth cycling through.

1. COASTAL; Head NE to Seahouses (NB. “C” class routes closer to the coast are visually more attractive). Head North from Seahouses, roughly parallel to the coast, with some decent sights worth seeing. Head West towards Belford. A range of Fell Sandstone hills run roughly parallel to the coast and can be crossed at Belford. Once over the Fell Sandstone hills, the country and scenery is very different on the Western side. Head South towards Alnwick (Nb. Obviously the ride can be extended by continuing to head further North, Berwicks worth a visit, or head West towards Wooler from Belford)
2. WESTERN LOWLAND NORTHUMBERLAND; Head South to Morpeth, via Shilbottle, Acklington, Felton, Ulgham (17 miles, fairly flat, mildly interesting). Whilst the country to the South and East of Morpeth is definitely worth avoiding (NB. Post Industrial, former coal mining areas), within half a mile heading West on any road from Morpeth, the visual appeal of the country hugely improves. All the roads heading West from Morpeth are worth taking, the route depending on how many miles you want to do. It can be worth taking an extension towards Elsdon /Otterburn/Bellingham if you really want to put the miles in! (NB. Be aware that the further West you head, the deeper and more frequent the valley crossings become on your return NE to Alnwick – the direct B6341 gives fantastic views, but literally becomes a seesaw of a ride – hard work, 70-80 miles into the ride!). If I’ve headed to Elsdon/Otterburn, it can be easiest to avoid the seesaw by heading East down the Coquet or adjacent valley's. It increases the mileage, but the gradients and climbs are hugely reduced when turning North towards Alnwick
3. COQUET VALLEY / CHEVIOTS. Head South West from Alnwick towards Alnwinton. Take routes South or East from Alnwinton and back round by any route of your fancy to Alnwick. An extension via Elsdon/Otterburn is worth it. Gives superb views of various hills
4. It’s worth being aware that a line drawn from Amble to Morpeth, will give a post industrial landscape on the SE side. Much greener now, but not worth cycling in
5. In respect to food stops; Alnwick, Morpeth, Berwick, Hexham have major food retailers; Seahouses/Belford/Wooler/Rothbury/Bellingham/Ponteland/Amble are all “Co-Op” type places, though all c/w local cafes/bakers et al (NB. I wouldn’t rely on the quality/price of such places – I rarely use them, but compared with most parts of England, Northumberland seems to lack decent bakers!