GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

County Durham Cycle Routes

County Durham contains scenery and towns full of character so there is plenty to enjoy for the cyclist.

Please use the links below to view full route information including descriptions, elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads.

You can also view an overview map of all the routes in the using the County Durham Cycle Map

There are several National Cycle Network signed routes in the county many of which have been mapped and can be viewed and downloaded below.
For more information on NCN routes in the county (including free cycle maps) please click here

For more information on cycle routes in County Durham including tips, advice and free cycle maps please click here


Route NamePhotoDistanceDescription
Auckland Walk5 miles (7.5 km)A short cycle and walking route along a dismantled railway line from Spennymoor to Bishop Auckland. This is a nice, easy route ideal for families.
Billingham to Hartlepool10 miles (16 km)Starting near Billingham rail follow NCN route 14 first through Cowpen Bewley Country Park before finishing on a lovely coastal stretch along Tees Bay.
The end point of this short easy ride is Hartlepool rail just south of the Quay.
Brandon - Bishop Auckland Walk9 miles (14 km)This is a nice easy cycling and walking path that follows a disused railway line from Brandon, near Durham, to Bishop Auckland.
You will pass through the villages of Brancepeth and Willington, shortly before joining the River Wear for the final stretch into Bishop Auckland. There are fine views of the surrounding countryside and of the Newton Cap Viaduct just before entering Bishop Auckland.
Castle Eden Walkway9 miles (15 km)Enjoy a cycle or walk along this disused railway line which runs along National Cycle Network Route 1. It's a nice easy traffic free ride for families or beginners.
The route starts to the west of the County Durham village of Castle Eden and heads south through Wingate to Station Town. You continue past the pretty Hurworth Burn Reservoir before passing Brierley Wood and Thorpe Wood Nature Reserve. The route finishes at the lovely Wynyard Woodland Park. This country park in Billingham has woodland trails, a wildflower meadow and a planetarium and observatory. There's also a nice cafe where you can refresh yourself after your exercise.
Near the start of the route there is the splendid Castle Eden Dene National Nature Reserve. The reserve contains a wide variety of flora and fauna, woodland trails and the pretty Castle Eden Burn.
Coast to Coast Whitehaven to Tynemouth137 miles (220 km)This is the complete C2C NCN route crossing the country from east to west along a number of cycle tracks/paths and minor roads. You will see some spectacular scenery as you pass through the Cumbrian Lake District and Northumberland before the last leg through County Durham and the finish point at Tynemouth Pier on the east coast of England.
Click here for the C2C from Whitehaven to Sunderland
Click here for a comprehensive guide to this popular route.
Consett to Sunderland28 miles (45 km)Travel from Consett along the C2C NCN route to Roker Pier in Sunderland. This can be completed as the 3rd leg of the C2C ride following from Whitehaven to Penrith and Penrith to Consett. Highlights on this ride include a long stretch along the Consett and Sunderland railway path before cruising by the river weir and ending up on the east coast of England by Roker Pier.
Consett to Tynemouth28 miles (45 km)Travel from Consett along the C2C NCN route to Tynemouth Pier. This can be completed as the 3rd leg of the C2C ride following from Whitehaven to Penrith and Penrith to Consett. This is a fairly flat ride with highlights including a stretch along the River Derwent before following the Tyne into Newcastle before finishing on the East coast of England.
Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park3 miles (5 km)This country park in Billingham is the perfect place for a peaceful afternoon stroll. The park consists of grassland, a lake, a series of ponds and a beck flows which around the boundary of the park. The lake is fantastic for birdwatching - look out for coot, pochard, swans, grebes, herons and the tufted duck. For cyclists National Cycle Route 14 runs through the park.
Deerness Valley Way8 miles (13 km)This cycle or walk along a dismantled railway line runs from Stonebridge to Crook through the beautiful Deerness Valley. The path passes the villages of Ushaw Moor and Esh Winning and and woodland at Holburn and Woodhouses Wood. There are also lovely waterside stretches along the River Deerness to enjoy.
Derwent Reservoir Durham11 miles (18 km)Enjoy a cycle around Derwent Reservoir in Durham. The route takes you around the reservoir on country roads and past the pretty

Pow Hill Country Park

. The reservoir is located a few miles west of Consett.

Derwent Valley Walk11 miles (18 km)This lovely railway path runs from Swalwell, near Gateshead, to Consett alongside the River Derwent and is suitable for walkers and cyclists.
You will pass the villages of Rowlands Gill, Hamsterley and Ebchester on the way. The path also takes you through Derwent Walk Country Park and there is a woodland section at Byerside Wood. Also of interest is the National Trust owned Gibside near Rowlands Gill. This is well worth a visit with its 18th-century landscape park and nature reserve.
Great North Forest Heritage Trail65 miles (105 km)This circular cycle and walking route takes you through the countryside of this former mining area in Tyne and Wear. The trail passes Pelton, Bournmoor, Hetton-le-Hole, the Penshaw Monument and Witherwack. The route includes a section along the River Wear in Sunderland and a delightful coastal section visiting Whitburn and Marsden Bay. You will also visit Lumley Castle - a 14th century quadrangular castle at Chester-le-Street with lovely gardens. Also of interest is the Penshaw monument - a folly situated on on Penshaw Hill dedicated to John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham. The video below shows the splendid views from this most beloved landmark which appears on the badge of Sunderland Football Club.
The route is waymarked with a yellow and green disc.
Haltwhistle to Tynemouth57 miles (92 km)This route is the final leg of 3 making up the Hadrian's Cycleway. The ride has some fabulous scenery as you pass through the counties of County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. Route highlights include the Vindlolanda and Cordbridge Roman forts, Tyne Green Riverside Park at Hexham and some lovely traffic free cycling along the River Tyne. The final section takes you through Newcastle Upon Tyne on your way to the finish point on the east coast.
Hamsterley Forest9 miles (15 km)Hamsterley Forest is a great place for exciting mountain bike trails, leisurely family cycle rides or peaceful woodland walking.
There are three colour coded, way-marked mountain bike trails in the forest. The blue trail follows purpose built cycle tracks and the Bedburn Beck through the southern part of the forest at a leisurely pace. It's suitable for families and people looking for a gentle introduction to off road cycling. The red trail goes further into the forest and climbs to a point with fabulous views of the surrounding area before descending on an exciting single track running along Euden Beck. The black trail is the most severe trail and suitable for experienced mountain bikers. Cycle hire is available from the start of route below.
Walkers will find five way-marked trails of varying lengths and difficulty to follow. These include an easy, riverside stroll along Bedburn Beck and longer trails with climbs and a visit to Blackling Hole waterfall. The route mapped out below is suitable for both leisure walkers and cyclists looking for a fairly easy ride.
Hardwick Hall Country Park2 miles (3 km)This large ornamental park is located in Sedgefield in County Durham. Hardwick includes a 17-acre lake and a number of ornamental features, including temples, grottoes and follies. There are woodland trails and a lovely waterside path around the lake to enjoy. There is also a visitor centre, gift shop and cafe.
Hartlepool to Seaham21 miles (33 km)This ride starts near the quay in Hartlepool and follows NCN route 14 to Seaham. The route follows an off road track for most of the way and passes near Peterlee and Hetton-Le-Hole before finishing close to the harbour at Seham.
Lanchester Valley Walk12 miles (19 km)This shared cycling and walking path uses the route of the railway originally built to carry iron ore to Consett Steelworks. The path runs from Durham to Consett passing Bearpark, Langley Park and Lanchester. Route highlights include the 13th century Beaurepaire Priory at Bearpark, Lanchester Roman Fort and some lovely views of the River Browney.
Middlesbrough to Darlington20 miles (32 km)Follow NCN routes 1 & 14 on this pleasant ride. You start by following the River Tees to Stockton on Tees before quiet roads take you onto Oak Tree. Here you join a dismantled railway path for an off road stretch taking you into Darlington where you finish at the train station. Much of this ride is on off road paths making it a nice leisurely ride.
Middlesbrough to Durham34 miles (55 km)Travel from Yorkshire into County Durham along NCN routes 14 and 1. You begin near the train station in Middlesbrough and head to Stockton on Tees along an off road section by the River Tees. The route then turns north along the Castle Eden Walkway for more off road riding taking you through the Castle Eden Walkway Country Park. You continue to Haswell where you turn east towards Durham finishing with a pleasant stretch along the River Wear.
Penrith to Consett53 miles (85 km)Travel from Penrith in the Cumbrian Lake District along the C2C NCN route to Consett in Durham. This can be completed as the 2nd leg of the C2C ride following from Whitehaven to Penrith. Highlights on this ride include spectacular views of the Penines and a number of cycle friendly off road tracks. Also of interest are the Long Meg and Her Daughters Stone circles near Penrith and the beautiful scenery of the South Tyne Valley (below).
Ravenglass to Tynemouth180 miles (290 km)This is the complete route for the Hadrian's Cycleway which runs from east coast of England to the west coast passing through some fabulous scenery.
For a comprehensive guide to the route including accommodation, guide notes and photographs please click here.
Sunderland to Middlesbrough39 miles (63 km)Travel between these two major north eastern cities along NCN routes 1 and 14 on this interesting ride. The route starts with a long off road section to coastal Seaham. On the way you will pass through Ryhope and the lovely Cherry Knowle (below). There then follows another traffic free section along the Haswell to Hart Countryside Walk & the Castle Eden Walkway taking you to Stockton on Tees. A stretch along the River Tees takes you into Middlesbrough along NCN route 14.
Tunstall Reservoir2 miles (3 km)Follow the footpath around this pretty reservoir and nature reserve near Wolsingham in Country Durham. It's a lovely place for an easy stroll with species rich woodland on the eastern side of the reservoir and a nature reserve at the northern end. Look out for a variety of birdlife including Great rested grebe, tufted duck, goosander, moorhen, coot, mallard and common sandpiper. Butterflies are also common in the reserve. Look out for admiral, small tortoiseshell, peacock and meadow brown.
The whole of this circular route is designed for walkers but cyclists can enjoy the lovely country lane on the western side of the reservoir too.
Waskerley Way10 miles (16 km)This is a shared cycling and walking path that follows the route of the old Stanhope and Tyne Railway line.
The path starts near Consett and runs to Weather Hill passing through woodland and open moorland. You will also pass the delightful Smiddy Shaw and Waskerley Reservoirs
Whitehaven to Sunderland134 miles (215 km)This is the complete C2C NCN route crossing the country from east to west along a number of cycle tracks/paths and minor roads. You will see some spectacular scenery as you pass through the Cumbrian Lake District and Northumberland before the last leg through County Durham and the finish point at Roker Pier on the east coast of England.
Click here for the C2C from Whitehaven to Tynemouth
Click here for a comprehensive guide to this popular route.

Your Submitted Routes

Route NameDistanceDifficulty
Durham Esh Circular26 miles (42 km)****

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