National Cycle Network in Scotland


Cycling in Scotland enables you to take your time and experience truly being away from it all in some of the most remote areas in Europe. National Cycle Network (NCN) routes take you through many areas of natural beauty - from desolate moorland to vast forests, shimmering lochs to tranquil glens, tumultuous rivers to spectacular coastlines. It also passes castles, standing stones and historic settlements. And if you enjoy city life, the Network takes you into the centre of all Scotland's major cities. 

There are approximately 2,100 miles (3,379 km) of National Cycle Network route in Scotland, over 500 miles of traffic-free walking and cycling routes on railway paths, canal towpaths and forest trails.  It provides long-distance cycling opportunities, but also important community links to encourage everyday journeys to be made sustainably. The Network mainly follows traffic-free paths, minor or traffic-calmed roads, segregated routes through towns and redetermined rural footways, but where there is no practical alternative, it may use or cross trunk roads with the agreement of Transport Scotland. Map of the National Cycle Network in Scotland.

 Find out more about the Network in the UK

Using the Network

National Cycle Network routes are signed with blue cycle route signs with red number patches. In some places, blue stickers with red number patches may be used. 

There are also simple rules to follow when Using the Network. There's a code of conduct for cycling on shared-use paths and essential road safety for cyclists. Follow these to ensure that all users of the paths are treated with consideration and to help keep you safe. 

Our Get Cycling page is also full of tips on route planning, bike maintenance, bike security, cycling for women and cycle training. 

Sharing the paths

Showing consideration to other types of path user is particularly important in Scotland as the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives all non-motorised users (including mobility scooters) statutory access rights to most land and inland water. This means that paths are for everyone to enjoy – there are no paths which are only for pedestrians, cyclists or horses. We all share the space which means we all need to behave responsibly so that everyone can enjoy these facilities. Our Polite Path Users guide explains how everyone should behave. 

Route developments

The National Cycle Network is a work in progress. Some parts are wonderful, and Sustrans works with local authorities and other partners to bring the other sections up to standard. Progress can be slow for a variety of reasons, and Sustrans, as a charity, does not have any statutory powers. 

Route Developments summarises where we are in developing new or proposed sections of the National Cycle Network. 

Closures and diversions affecting National Cycle Network routes are noted at the end of each route description


We have over 350 volunteers in Scotland who help maintain the Network, performing tasks such as cutting back vegetations, litter picking, fixing signs and reporting defects. There are also opportunities to help with events, to learn about biodiversity, to lead rides and walks and much more. Find out about Volunteer opportunities.

20th Anniversary of the NCN

2015 is the 20th Anniversary of the National Cycle Network. 20 - 28 June is National Cycle Network Week in Scotland

We want to get lots of people out on the Network that week walking, cycling, scooting and horseriding and there will be a variety of events taking place on or near the Network. The Events in Scotland information is regularly updated, so keep checking it. 

Click the links below for information about: