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Pennine Cycleway
350 mi / 6-12 days
Epic
🇬🇧 68
8
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The single most epic ride on the National Cycle Network, this is an unforgettable route along the spine of England. Nowhere else will you find scenery so wild, lanes so quiet, views so vast.

It’s a true challenge ride, not for the faint-hearted. You’ll finish each day feeling thoroughly worked over – but when you wake up the next morning, you’ll be charged up for another day’s glorious cycling. At every hilltop, every corner, there’s a new vista. Multiply that by 350 miles and you’ll see what’s so special about this route.

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Basics
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Getting there

Basics

How long does it take?

At 350 (hilly) miles, this is essentially a week’s holiday. If you’re coming from the south of England or the Midlands, don’t forget to factor in the time to get a train to Derby at the start, and back from Berwick-on-Tweed at the end.

The route passes numerous railway lines, so you can break it up into sections if you can’t spare a week. That said, we’d recommend doing it all in one go: the gradually unfolding landscape is one of the attractions of this route.

What's the surface like?

The Pennine Cycleway is a mix of quiet roads, railway paths, canal towpaths and forestry roads. As such, a hybrid will cope with most of the surfaces en route, and its forgiving gears will help you up the steeper climbs.

A few short sections are very rough: the Trans-Pennine Trail across the Woodhead summit, the cobbles up from Hebden Bridge, and the field section after Alwinton. There are easy road alternatives for all of these, though the Woodhead road is exceptionally busy. At Hadfield in the Peak District, you’ll find the surface easier if you stick to the southern edge of the reservoir.

Taking a road bike? If you fit robust tyres, you’ll generally be fine (with the above exceptions). Take extra care on the bridleway at the end of the Tissington Trail (near Earl Sterndale); the rough minor road just north of Buxton; and the forest sections after Hadrian’s Wall and through Kielder Forest.

Route

How wild is it?

We’re not the sort of southern Jessies who say “the further north you go, the further from civilisation you are”. The south of England can only dream of scenery like this!

But it’s certainly true that there are long stretches without any facilities. There is nothing, at all, in the 20 miles from Twice Brewed to Bellingham. As such, make sure you always have enough to eat and drink with you (with apologies for sounding like your mum), and spare inner tubes in case of a puncture. This affects your choice of accommodation too: if you get to Haltwhistle and everywhere’s full up, it’s another 25 miles until the next B&B.

Is this the Pennine Bridleway?

No. Confusingly, this is one of three routes (and, we think, the best) to share the ‘Pennine’ tag. There’s also the Trans-Pennine Trail, a much gentler east-west route from Liverpool to Hull; and the Pennine Bridleway, a fearsome off-road haul for horse-riders and mountain-bikers.

Getting there

How do you get there and back?

The Pennine Cycleway starts at the little village of Etwall, midway between Derby and Burton-on-Trent. You can take a train to either, then cycle along NCN route 54 for seven miles to Etwall. For the return journey, Berwick-on-Tweed is on the East Coast Main Line, with fast trains direct to London, Edinburgh and into the Midlands.

Note that LNER and CrossCountry, who provide the trains from Berwick, are both sticklers for bike reservations. Book your journey well in advance. Don’t worry if the station staff at Berwick growl at you… they do that to everyone.

Ride reports & comments

Ride report - will be coming soon.

Hi all, I dont know why no reports have been posted. I will try and remedy the situation and bring it upto date  from July 2016

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Pennine Cycleway July 2018

I was going to add some maps with added local details that might help, but these might have to wait. Here is the link.

Sorry - I've written quite…

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speke road ncn 62 crossing: wrong?

Your map seems to not to be able to route via the official ncn62 routing across speke boulevard in liverpool?

Open streetmap seems to show it OK.

I have included…

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Enter the title

http://www.openstreetmap.org/search?query=53.4434%2C-2.1335#map=16/53.4424/-2.1337&layers=C

ncn62 goes as ross lave lane goes over the motorway as in OSM website map but not in cycle.travel?

I wonder why when its the same data?

Its also…

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Derby TPT York

Using NCN routes including bits of the Pennine cycleway and the TransPennine Trail .

Lots of old railway and canals so not to be rushed! Good rail links each end…

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NCN 68 north of Haltwhistle

Hi Richard

I'm trying to plot a route along a section of NCN 68, from Haltwhistle to Bellingham, but cycle.travel won't let me! It appears to think there's a gap…

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PCW August 2018

Hi

Just a quick note to say thank you for the excellent  guide for this route.

The GPX proved useful as well. Although there is a new path at SK…

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Ridden this route? Write a ride report and share your experience…

Tue 16 Jul, 09:29

We had a great journey over route 68 from Derby to Berwick Upon Tweed. The route offers fantastic views with some challenging hills continuously!

We had a few mechanical issues and found a great help in a privately owned company at Millthorp 3/4 mile before Sedbergh. A very helpful owner, James of Polka Dot Cycles managed to get us up and running again. Not much choice out this part of the route so well worth knowing he is hidden away. Phone number is 07887 780629.