About the National Cycle Network

What is the National Cycle Network?

The National Cycle Network is a series of safe, traffic-free lanes and quiet on-road routes that connect to every major city and passes within a mile of 55 per cent of UK homes.  It now stretches 14,200 miles across the length and breadth of the UK. 

Sustrans developed the concept and coordinates the development of the National Cycle Network, working with Local Authorities and partner organisations to identify future routes and, in some cases, providing the funding to build extensions.  We work with partners to promote the National Cycle Network and have developed online mapping which shows all the routes and have produced maps which are available to purchase in our shop

History in a nutshell

When the organisation was set up in Bristol in 1977, we had a vision to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists in the city.  So in 1984 we built a traffic free route between Bristol and Bath along a disused railway path.  The success of this route was phenomenal and other routes in different parts of the country soon followed.  The National Cycle Network was officially born in 1995 with a grant from the National Lottery. Through our work to create better walking and cycling links we're providing the space to make sure sustainable travel is not just a choice: it's the most obvious and convenient option.

Key Milestones

1984 - The first route was the Bristol and Bath Railway Path, a 17-mile traffic-free trail along a disused railway. It now carries more than 6,500 walking and cycling journeys every day.

1995 - The Network was officially created with a £42.5 million grant from the newly-created National Lottery.

2000 - The National Cycle Network was officially opened in June 2000 when 5,000 miles had been completed, although some routes had been open for over a decade.

2005 - The Network reaches 10,000 miles and carried 232,000,000 journeys.

2011 – The Network grows to 13,000 miles.

2013 – 84 new routes are opened through a lottery funded project to extend the network into the heart of communities across the UK.  The project won the Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel. 

2014 - The Network is now 14,200 miles long!

Our Ethos and Vision

We are setting the standard. We build the National Cycle Network to the highest possible standards and pride ourselves on using inspirational, iconic design that creates attractive routes that people want to use again and again. 

We are thinking big. We want to make walking and cycling the easiest and most convenient transport choice for everyone. Our ambitious aim is to bring the National Cycle Network within a mile of everyone in the UK.

We make a difference.  Check out where we have built new routes and the impact they are having on the local community. 

Browse our cycling merchandise, maps and guides

The Sustrans Shop stocks cycle maps and guides, and a wide range of products for the everyday cyclist. 

View our selection of panniers and bike bags.

Cycle maps and guides of the National Cycle Network and other routes.

Celebrate your ride with our iconic route T-Shirts.

We have a selection of routes in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England.