Route 6 travels in sections from bustling London to the picturesque Lake District, past gorgeous landscapes, alongside historic canals and through some of the UK’s most interesting towns and cities.

Route 6 passes through the beautiful British countryside, interesting cities and charming towns such as Market Harborough, Kendal and Windermere.

Take in some of the UK's best canals

Using the route you’ll get to enjoy some of England’s fantastic old canals.

Near the southern end of the route you follow the Grand Union Canal for a time and, further north, you cycle along the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

When you leave Luton you’ll follow traffic-free paths and the Sewell Greenway.

Following a short gap, the lovely route along the Grand Union Canal towpath then joins Leighton Buzzard with Bletchley, continuing on mainly traffic-free paths through the east of Milton Keynes.

The route at Milton Keynes includes the 16-mile Brampton Valley Way between Northampton and Market Harborough.

Look out for an excellent traffic-free section through central Leicester and the 13-mile Cloud Trail between Worthington and Derby.


Download your free guide to easy, traffic-free routes on the National Cycle Network in your area.


A taste of urban life

Route 6 takes in the urban areas of Derby and Beeston before heading through Sherwood Forest to Worksop and on to Sheffield via the Rother Valley Country Park.

The route follows the Peak Park Anniversary route from Sheffield rail station out to the Hope Valley via Ringinglow and the southern edge of Ladybower Reservoir.

There are two sections of traffic-free route:

  • One along Porter Brook between Bingham Park and Carr Bridge
  • and the other across the Ladybower Reservoir dam and then south to Thornhill along the path of the old railway line constructed to provide materials for the dam.

Route 6 resumes at Reddish and enters Manchester via the traffic-free Fallowfield Loop Line and then on residential streets through Whalley Range into the city centre.

Heading towards Bury the route follows much of the Irwell Sculpture Trail.

Bury and Accrington are linked via on-road and traffic-free sections of the old East Lancashire railway path.

Accrington to Blackburn follows the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Between Blackburn and Preston the route is still being developed but it exists from Blackburn to Pleasington Rail Station, travelling through Witton Country Park. It resumes along the River Ribble from Samlesbury into central Preston.

Experience the beautiful countryside

As you head out of Preston, Route 6 follows country roads through the Lancashire countryside to the Lune Estuary from where the path follows the estuary into Lancaster city centre.

North of Lancaster, Route 6 follows the towpath along the Lancaster Canal to Carnforth, from where the route follows minor roads into Kendal, through Staveley and on to the beautiful town of Windermere in the Lake District.

There are then two missing links in the route north of Windermere (between Windermere and Ambleside, and between Grasmere and Thirlmere), as some sections of Route 6 are still being developed.

The final section of the route between Threlkeld and Carlisle runs parallel to the C2C route for a short way to Laithes before heading north along the River Caldew to Carlisle.

Would you like more route inspiration? Sign up to our enewsletter.

Please note

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.

Please help us protect this route

Route 6 is part of the National Cycle Network, cared for by Sustrans. Your donation today will help keep the Network safe and open for everyone to enjoy.

Share this page