The Monsal Trail in the Peak District has been voted as the UK’s favourite National Cycle Network route under 30 miles, and the Trans-Pennine Trail running from Southport to Hornsea has been voted as the UK’s favourite long distance National Cycle Network route, in our poll.
We ran the vote as part of celebrations to mark 20 years since the Network was developed.
The Monsal Trail is a stunning traffic-free cycle route in the heart of the Peak District National Park.
At 8.5 miles long it is perfect for all ages and has lots to see including wildlife, geology, industrial and rail heritage. A particular highlight on the route is the four railway tunnels - Headstone Tunnel, Cressbrook Tunnel, Litton Tunnel and Chee Tor Tunnel. Each tunnel is approximately 400 metres long.
The route had stiff competition from other fantastic routes on the Network, including the Bath Two Tunnels route and the Camel Trail in Cornwall.
Matt Burton, manager at the YHA Ravenstor who backed the Monsal Trail during the voting, said:
“The Monsal Trail is the most beautiful cycle route in the Peak District in my opinion with views of the impressive limestone Dales, beautiful wild flowers along the terraces that flank either side and the fascinating engineering structures that you pass along the eight and a half mile route.”
The Trans Pennine Trail links up the Irish sea in the West to the North Sea in the East, with 215 miles of quiet on-road and traffic-free paths in between.
The route goes through some of the most historic towns and cities in the North of England, including Manchester and Leeds and crosses the Pennines through the Peak District. To plan your visit, head to the Trans Pennine Trail website which has all the information you'll need.
Dave Dawson, Head of Customer Service at Ecotricity who backed the Trans Pennine Trail during the voting, said:
“I used to live on the edge of the Pennines near Chorley before moving back to the Midlands and rode sections of the trail on numerous occasions. I found the contrast between the industrial areas of Lancashire and the wide open spaces of the Pennines a complete break away from my daily commute along the motorway into Bolton. The views are spectacular and include splendid scenery with the odd graceful picture of wind turbines on the horizon.”
Councillor Terry Gilby of Chesterfield Borough Council, who is Chair of the Trans Pennine Trail Members Group & Executive Committee noted, “This is a fantastic achievement for all our partners, supporters and users. It is often very difficult for an organisation such as ours to get the recognition we deserve but I am sure that this prestigious award will help raise the profile of the Trail and the fantastic work done by everyone involved. Thank you to everyone who voted and I am very honoured to be sharing this wonderful achievement with all of you.”
The National Cycle Network was first developed by Sustrans back in 1995 and now covers over 14,000 miles in the UK.
We've also recently released a brand new book, Sustrans’ Traffic-Free Cycle Rides, detailing 150 bike rides on the Network. The book, which costs £12, includes day rides around the country with recommendations for pubs, cafes and hotels along the way.