Whether you’re taking your young family on an easy jaunt and stopping off at forts along the way, or you’re a serious cyclist determined to eat up the miles as you soak up the history, Hadrian’s Wall Country is a pedalling paradise.
Northumberland is England’s largest county but also one of its greenest, making it a gem of a destination for cyclists. As well as opportunities to go off-road, it boasts an impressive 100 miles of purpose-built cycling trails. Beautiful Cumbria meanwhile, with its sometimes challenging inclines, rewards the dedicated cyclist with astounding views and joyous free-wheeling downhill stretches to rest their weary legs. And, at the most easterly stretch of the frontier is Tyneside, a colourful urban chain of towns and suburbs that’s very accessible by bike, with most of the River Tyne itself lined by well-loved cycle paths.
Hadrian’s Cycleway runs from coast-to-coast and is part of the National Cycle Network. Cyclists complete the ritual of dipping their front wheels in the water at each end – at Ravenglass on the Cumbrian coast and in the North Sea at South Shields, having first paid a visit to Arbeia Fort, of course. The route itself closely shadows the Wall’s line, taking in various forts, milecastles and settlements, as well as mile upon mile of scenery that is by turns bucolic and awesome.
Anyone setting out to explore Hadrian’s Wall by bike should tap into Cycle PaD, a one-stop online hub of information on everything from routes and bike hire, to repair shops and luggage transfers. Cycling is big news across Hadrian’s Wall Country and, because of that, you’re never far from a quality service or a high-calorie snack. A healthy number of businesses are in place to ensure cyclists enjoy every moment of their Hadrian’s Wall trip. Saddle Skedaddle, for example, is a well-established tour operator offering self-guided cycling holidays to Hadrian’s Wall. It’s also the name behind The Cycle Hub on Newcastle’s quayside. This café/ bike repair shop is a hive of cycling-related activity with cyclists refuelling themselves and retuning their bikes there all year round. Further inland,
ActivCycles in Corbridge (near Corbridge Roman Town itself) is another popular haunt with foodie cyclists. Providing a full menu of sandwiches, main meals, cakes and hot drinks, ActivCylces also has a fully equipped workshop that’s able to service bikes of any make or model. In fact, many of the pubs and hostels, camp-sites, shops, taxi services and other enterprises that serve visitors to Hadrian’s Wall have a particular penchant for meeting cyclists’ needs so all you need to do is peddle.
The Cumbrian Coast offers some fantastic, relatively-flat cycling and spectacular views over the Solway Firth to Scotland. The Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty provides a beautiful backdrop, is home to an abundance of wildlife and is the perfect place to watch the sun set in the West. Find out more and download some Solway Coast cycling routes.