The route is described here travelling from Darlington to South Shields but is signposted in both directions.
The route is entirely open with much of it traffic-free along disused railway paths. A section through Stockton-on-Tees and another section from Wingate to Hasell share the route with National Route 1. Between Stockton-on-Tees and South Shields the route is also known as the Three Rivers Cycle Route.
Currently the route is 88 miles long. It can be thought of in three sections:
1. Darlington to Hartlepool
Following an old railway line out of Darlington to Middleton St George, the route continues via a combination of on-road and traffic-free sections to Stockton-on-Tees. After a short stretch on National Route 1 through Stockton, Route 14 heads to Hartlepool. Over 50% of the route between Stockton and Hartlepool is traffic-free.
2. Hartlepool to Durham
Following a mixture of traffic-free and on-road route through Hartlepool, Route 14 heads away from the coast on a continuous disused railway line, sharing with National Route 1 (also part of EuroVelo 12) for part of the route, as far as Haswell in County Durham. From Haswell, mainly on-road routes take you west into Durham.
3. Durham to South Shields
Shortly after leaving Durham heading west, National Route 14 follows the Lanchester Valley Railway Path to Consett, continuing on disused railway paths to where it meets the River Derwent and then the south bank of the Tyne towards South Shields. Some short sections along the Tyne are on-road but otherwise this whole stretch is a fantastic unbroken traffic-free path.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.