Reivers Route

Route Details

  • Route: Tynemouth to Whitehaven or Workington (North Sea off Northumbrian Coast to Irish Sea off Cumbrian Coast). 
  • Distance: 173 miles, of which 39 are traffic-free.
  • National Cycle Network: Route 7, 10, 68, 71 and 72
  • Route Type: Quiet country roads, traffic-free cyclepaths, green lanes and forest trails 
  • Categorisation: Challenging

Route Description

This route was developed by a consortium including Sustrans and provides an exciting way to discover the best of northern England's scenery in the historic border territory of England and Scotland which, especially during its peak in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, has been characterised by robbery, cattle rustling, kidnap and murder. 

The majority of the route is National Route 10, and many of the sections that share with other route numbers are also signed Route 10. 

Beginning at Tynemouth on National Route 72 and taking you through the urban environment, the Reivers Route then runs along quiet roads and tracks into open countryside on National Route 10 as far as Bellingham, provding views to the north of the Cheviot skyline.

At Bellingham the route meets National Route 68 for a short section before returning back onto National Route 10 towards Tynedale and Kielder Water and on into the Kielder Forest. Here forest trails take you briefly over the England-Scotland border at the most northerly point on the route - take care here because the surface can be pretty hard-going in places if you're not prepared. Quiet roads then head down the valley of the River Lyne to Westlinton, north of Carlisle, where the route continues on National Route 7 via the floodplain of the River Eden to the historic border city of Carlisle.

South of Carlisle the route runs along the valley of the River Caldew via Dalston (Cumbria), after which it rejoins National Route 10 to Cockermouth via Hesket Market. From Hesket Market the route skirts the northern edge of the Lake District mountains. The route is all minor roads and tracks from here, and once at Cockermouth National Route 71 takes the route on to Workington on the coast. National Route 72 completes the journey along the coast, ending at Whitehaven.

The route follows:

  • National Route 72 between Tynemouth and North Shields; Workington and Whitehaven
  • National Route 10 between North Shields and Bellingham; Bellingham and Westlinton; (just south of) Dalston and Cockermouth
  • National Route 68 through Bellingham
  • National Route 7 between Westlinton and (just south of) Dalston
  • National Route 71 between Cockermouth and Workington

Useful Information

This route is normally ridden East to West to take advantage of the kinder gradients, with longer downhill sections and shorter uphills. As with the C2C and Hadrian's Cycleway route many riders follow the tradition of dipping their back wheel in the North Sea at the start of the journey and their front wheel in the Irish Sea when they finish.

All bikes are suitable to tackle the on-road sections that make up the majority of the Reivers Route, although the section through the Kielder Forest can get very muddy and is also quite remote so we recommend a sturdy bike and the carrying of appropriate provisions.

There are lots of companies who provide supported cycle rides if you don't want to carry all your equipment. We recommend Saddle Skedaddle.

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Map shows the National Cycle Network and local routes in this area.

The Reivers Route is a 173-mile coast-to-coast cycle route from Tynemouth to Whitehaven through unspoilt Northumberland and the Kielder Forest. The route takes in Carlisle and the Lake District and provides a great alternative or return route for the Sea to Sea (C2C) Route.

173 miles