Plan cycle routes to connect North Northumberland landmarks and beauty spots

Plans are in the works for a network of marked trails between a number of rural landmarks and Northumberland beauty spots.

Aiming to provide new experiential travel opportunities and promote safe cycling, The Hadrian’s Raider Trails project is hoped to create a 350km network of marked trails connecting hubs from where people can begin their outdoor adventures. in the county. These hubs will be established at key entry points including Stonehaugh, Kielder, Bellingham, Bewcastle (in Cumbria) and Byrness.

Each hub would provide parking, simple infrastructure such as lane pumps, secure storage, access to water and simple provisions where possible. One of the long-term goals of the project is that it can be used by people with disabilities, as well as horse riders, cyclists and walkers.

Read more: How Kielder Water was officially opened 40 years ago – and 10 facts about the reservoir

Should the project go ahead, the new marked trails could be an exciting addition for those wishing to explore further than Hadrian’s Cycle Route (National Cycle Route 72), which broadly follows the route of Hadrian’s Wall . The Hadrian’s Raider Trails project also builds on the growing popularity of off-road and gravel trails, for example, the Great Northern Trail, launched by Cycling UK in 2019.

The project team, which includes Alex MacLennan from Forestry England, expects to complete the first phase ready to launch the network in spring 2023. Later phases of the project will aim to encourage children and young adults to enjoy Hadrian’s Raider trails and developing multi-day cycling adventures using the existing Bothy network and new camping shelters.

Plans are already underway to make Northumberland a premier cycling destination, with the creation of a Northumberland Cycling Charter for businesses to demonstrate they meet the requirements of a ‘cycle-friendly’ establishment, while the Northumberland Coast AONB has been named one of the UK’s Best Places for Cyclists.

Where is your favorite place to cycle in Northumberland? Let us know!

The project is also exploring how it can improve accessibility for people with disabilities. There can be integration with public transport links to provide sustainable travel to and from trail nodes.

Ahead of the possible launch next spring, eight cyclists took part in a ride from Stonehaugh to Kielder Castle to understand the potential of creating such a network, including members of the project team and the MP for Hexham , Tynedale and Ponteland Guy Opperman. The route traversed a forest track to Tower Knowe before using the Lakeside Way to Kielder Castle, where the group met with Forestry England to discuss the implementation of the scheme.

Eight riders cycled from Stonehaugh to Kielder Castle, including MP Guy Opperman

Dave Buchan of Bike4Health said: “We are already looking to bring our first school group to explore this fantastic area later in the year, the project opens up a huge area of ​​traffic-free trails that can be used by anyone, while Paul Snedker added: ‘This area has the potential to add exciting new products to our Northumberland cycling holiday portfolio and we are committed to working with the project team to realize this potential.’

Guy Opperman said: “I learned a lot about the project, the opportunity it presents, and it reinforced how lucky we are to have such a fabulous landscape at our disposal. Northumberland must invest in improving cycling and walking infrastructure to boost the visitor economy. and to improve the health and well-being of its residents.”

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