The Trans Pennine Trail is a fantastic long-distance route linking the North and Irish seas, passing through the Pennines, alongside rivers and canals and through some of the most historic towns and cities in the North of England. The Trans Pennine Trail was voted the most popular route on the National Cycle Network.
The route can be completed in one go or broken down into shorter sections. There are three main sections to the Trans Pennine Trail: West, Central and East.
Trans Pennine Trail West is 96 miles long and travels from Southport to Barnsley. The route travels south-east through Liverpool before turning east and following the River Mersey through Widnes and on through Warrington, Sale and Stockport before beginning to ascend the Pennines through Hyde and Hadfield.
The trail continues to climb along the dramatic and rugged Longdendale Valley in the Peak District National Park, ending at its highest point on Woodhead Pass. A swift descent to the market town of Penistone follows and then you head to the halfway point at RSPB Old Moor.
Trans Pennine Trail Central is 76 miles in total. This section runs from Leeds to Chesterfield, starting by the royal armouries in the centre of Leeds. You travel alongside the Aire & Calder Navigation before skirting Wakefield and continuing south. There are a number of route choices through Sheffield and Rotherham before the trail heads to its southern-most point at Chesterfield.
Trans Pennine Trail East is 88 miles, York to Selby is an extra 15 miles. Travelling between Barnsley to Hornsea, you set out from RSPB Old Moor Barnsley, through the Dearne Valley before reaching the River Don at Doncaster. The route turns north here via quiet lanes and alongside the New Junction Canal to Selby.
At Selby, an extension of the route continues north to the historic city of York (adding an extra 15 miles to this section), while the main trail swings east following parallel to the rivers Ouse and Humber. After passing through the foothills of the Yorkshire Wolds, the Trans Pennine Trail reaches Kingston upon Hull and then continues on to the eastern terminus at the seaside town of Hornsea on the North Sea coast.
The Trans Pennine Trail is an exciting and challenging adventure for long-distance cycle tourers or bikepackers. However, there are also some shorter sections which are ideal for families. If you want to enjoy a shorter, easier section of the route we would recommend the following stretches - the Liverpool Loopline, Penistone to Dunford Bridge, Garforth to Woodlesford and the Hornsea Rail Trail.
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.
To make sure everyone gets the most out of their time by the water, please ensure that you follow the Towpath Code.