Hadrian’s Cycleway takes you on a ride through some of England’s most wild and dramatic countryside. Follow the line of the Roman frontier for 170 miles (274 kilometres) from Ravenglass in Cumbria to South Shields in Tyne & Wear. Along the way you’ll take in magnificent coastal views, breathtaking countryside, Roman forts and museums, inspiring modern attractions, quaint villages and attractive market towns, all set in a World Heritage Site. This cycle route has it all.
Hadrian’s Cycleway begins at the Glannaventa Roman Bath House, a short ride or walk from Ravenglass. The route then passes Ravenglass station and crosses the estuary on the railway bridge. From here you will travel on mainly quiet roads and off-road paths through the villages of Holmrook, Drigg and Seascale before turning away from the coast towards the small town of Egremont. Further on you will join the Sea to Sea (C2C) Route 71 and the Tracks of the Ironmasters which will take you into Whitehaven.
Western Lake District Tourism has plenty of suggestions for places of interest to visit around Ravenglass and Whitehaven including the heritage Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and Muncaster Castle.
From Whitehaven you continue on a mixture of quiet roads and off-road paths, passing through the towns of Workington and Maryport, where you can visit the Senhouse Roman Museum, and then the small coastal resort of Allonby.
The section between Maryport and Allonby provides great off-road cycling with beautiful views out across the Solway Firth. At Silloth the route heads away from the coast for a while, taking you down quiet roads through the north Cumbrian countryside. It then joins the Solway coast at Anthorn with spectacular views across to Scotland.
The route goes past the RSPB Campfield Marsh reserve and just beyond you will come to Bowness-on-Solway and the start of Hadrian’s Wall. The cycleway then follows the route of Hadrian’s Wall into the centre of Carlisle. While you’re in this ancient border city you can take the opportunity to visit Carlisle Castle.
Heading towards Haltwhistle and Hexham from Carlisle sees the end of the flat, low lying terrain along the west Cumbrian coastal plain. Now there are some hills to tackle as you make your way across the North Pennines.
Luckily, there are plenty of reasons to stop and explore, giving you a chance to take a break if needed. Between Brampton and Gilsland you pass Lanercost Priory, and a little further on near Greenhead you can visit both Thirlwall Castle and Walltown Roman Army Museum. Roman attractions are numerous along this section with visits to Birdoswald Roman Fort, Housesteads Roman Fort and Vindolanda all possible.
It’s downhill all the way now (nearly) with Hadrian’s Cycleway taking you from Hexham along the Tyne Valley and into Newcastle. Finish your ride at the Roman Arbeia Gatehouse in South Shields or take an alternative route to Tynemouth and Tynemouth Castle.
Go here to see a breakdown of route elevation.
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.