Published: 28th AUGUST 2020

The National Cycle Network Bucket List

To celebrate the National Cycle Network’s 25th birthday we’ve chosen our top 25 things to see and experience on the Network. How many can you tick off your list?

Cycle path and cyclist in lit-up tunnel

Cycling along Bath's Two Tunnels route

1. The Combe Down Tunnel

Bath Two Tunnels Circuit, South West England

Stretching out for 1,672 metres – that’s just over a mile – the Combe Down Tunnel is the UK’s longest cycling and walking tunnel. As you travel through it the experience is made even more special by the audio-visual installation by United Visual Artists. A memorable moment for young and old.    

 

2. The ‘Flintstone Flyer’

National Route 7, Scotland

Standing at three metres tall and five metres long, the Flintstone Flyer (previously known as the Bedrock Bike) is a memorable landmark on National Route 7. Made with two millstones found near its original location in Caldercruix, it has had a couple of makeovers since its creation in 1993. It now stands on the traffic-free path between Johnstone and Lochwinnoch.

 

3. Tan Hill Inn

National Route 70, North Yorkshire

The highest pub in Britain at 1,732 feet above sea level. Set on the lonely heights of the Yorkshire Dales, the Tan Hill Inn is a unique and historic building dating back to the 17th century – complete with three roaring fires to warm the feet.

Two people people on cycles going over bridge in wooded valley

Drakes Trail

4. Gem Bridge

Drake’s Trail, Devon

Reaching across the Walkham Valley in Dartmoor National Park, the impressive 200-metre long Gem Bridge is the longest purpose-built cycle bridge in the UK. It is also just one of the many impressive structures on the route between Tavistock and Plymouth.

 

5. The Gospel Pass

National Route 42, South East Wales

In the Black Mountains of the Brecon Beacons lies the Gospel Pass, the highest road in Wales and part of National Route 42. This exposed country lane has spectacular views over the Wye Valley – and makes for a memorable descent towards Glasbury.

 

6. Tower Bridge to Greenwich

National Route 4, London

In the heart of London you’ll find National Route 4. For iconic capital attractions it doesn’t get much than this route - starting at Tower Bridge and heading to Greenwich Park where you can park your cycle and explore the historic Cutty Sark ship.

 

7. The Derry Walls

National Route 92, Londonderry/Derry

Derry is one of the finest examples of a walled city in Europe. Of all the city walls in Ireland, only Derry’s 17th-century walls completely encircle the city. They're just off National Route 92 and make our 25th bucket list.

 

8. Neptune’s Staircase

National Route 78, Scotland

The longest staircase lock in Scotland, raising the Caledonian Canal by 19 metres over a quarter-of-a-mile stretch. An impressive feat of engineering running alongside a beautiful highland route.

Two people sat at table on table outside old fashioned train station waiting room with bikes in the foreground

Bristol and Bath Path

9. Bristol and Bath Railway Path

National Route 4, South West England

Flat, traffic-free and linking two great West Country cities. The Bristol and Bath Railway Path is where it all began back in 1979. It was Sustrans’ (then known as CycleBag) first infrastructure project and inspired the development of the National Cycle Network.

 

10. Brimham rocks

National Route 688, Yorkshire

We’re adding some pre-history to this bucket list with the weird and wonderful Brimham rocks. The giant rock formation is a natural spectacle on the National Cycle Network, and one not be missed as you travel over North Yorkshire’s heather moorland.

A tall red brick railway viaduct

Larpool Viaduct

11. Larpool Viaduct

Scarborough to Whitby, Yorkshire

High above the River Esk is the 915-foot-long Larpool Viaduct. Look out for the steam trains on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway running under it, as you travel over it on the Cinder Track.

A medieval castle looking over a harbour with boats

Caernarfon Castle

12. Caernarfon Castle

National Route 8, North Wales

Get your history hit by circling Wales’ most famous castle and UNESCO World Heritage Site on National Route 8. The imposing fortress-palace of Caernarfon Castle is over 700 years old with impressive views from towers over the Menai Strait.

 

13. Colinton Tunnel

National Route 75, near Edinburgh

Watch artist Chris Rutterford bring a Robert Louis Stevenson poem to life through the 32-metre-long Colinton Tunnel. Partly funded by our ArtRoots Fund, the artwork will become Scotland’s largest historical mural upon completion – due in 2021.

Grey stone wall and gravel track through Welsh valley with mountains

Lon Las Ogwen

14. Ogwen Valley

Lon Las Ogwen, North Wales

This is top of our list for breath-taking mountain views. Admire the Snowdonia scenery while travelling through the valley and onto the spoils of the Penrhyn Quarry – Britain’s largest slate quarry which forms a vast and impressive amphitheatre.

Town harbour with yachts and smaller boats, with shops and houses surrounding the harbour

The Camel Trail

15. The Camel Estuary

The Camel Trail, Cornwall

One of the most popular recreational routes in the country, the Camel Trail is ideal for families and is used by walkers, joggers, cyclists and horse-riders. Lying in the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is a paradise for bird watchers, with reed-beds and salt marsh flats. The elusive otter is also known to visit the estuary.

 

16. Pembrey Forest

The Millennium Coastal Path, South Wales

One of Britain’s rare sand dune forests and home to a rare and rich variety of botanical wildlife and migrant songbirds. Pembrey Forest is right on the spectacular Millennium Coastal Path with its far-reaching seaside views and woodland trail.

 

17. Magna Carta

National Route 24, Wiltshire

See one of only four remaining copies of the 13th-century charter of rights – one of the most important historical documents in the world – at Salisbury Cathedral. 

Solar System Way

18. The Solar System Way

York to Selby, Yorkshire

Be treated to a 10.4km scale model of the solar system along National Route 62 between Bishopthorpe and Riccal.

Young girl and woman riding cycles on path near giant horse head sculptures

Kelpies

19. The Kelpies

National Route 76, Falkirk

The 100-foot-tall horse head structures of the Kelpies is the largest equine sculpture in the world. It’s hard to miss as you travel past on National Route 76.

 

20. The DNA Path

National Route 11, Cambridgeshire

Built to celebrate the National Cycle Network as well as the work of the nearby Sanger Institute, this route features DNA helix and colourful gene artworks.

 

21. The Snettisham Spectacular

Cycle to the Wash, West Norfolk

Travel through the attractive village of Castle Rising and the Royal Estate of Sandringham on National Route 1 and you’ll reach RSPB Snettisham. Time your visit with an incoming high tide and you may witness the whirling wader spectacle – when thousands of birds take off and swarm together.

Woman with fold up bike standing in front of large angel sculpture

Angel of the North

22. The Angel of the North

National Route 725, Tyne & Wear

Visit Anthony Gormley’s iconic statue just outside Gateshead. The imposing and recognisable sculpture is popular with coast to coast tourers wanting a selfie in front of the region’s most famous artwork.

 

23. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

National Route 85, North Wales

A classic structure from the engineer and architect Thomas Telford, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in the UK, with nineteen elegant arches. Sitting high above the River Dee Valley, it is also the highest canal aqueduct with a simply unforgettable view from its giddying heights.

Man and woman holding hands and walking dog on path in suburban area

Comber Greenway

24. Comber Greenway

National Route 99, Belfast

Take the Titanic tour. Travel the seven miles of the tranquil traffic-free path from the heart of Belfast, the birthplace of the Titanic, to the town of Comber, famous for being the home of Thomas Andrews, the designer of the RMS Titanic.

View of Lake Windermere with hills and trees in background and interpretation board in the foreground

Lake Windermere

25. Windermere

National Route 6, Cumbria

Combine land and water adventures at England's largest lake. Cross the picturesque waters on Windermere's cable ferry and follow National Route 6 along the western shore.

 

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