The route actually shares its inital section from Derby with National Route 54, and its end section to Berwick-upon-Tweed with National Route 1, and therefore begins at Etwall (Derbyshire) and finishes at Norham in Northumberland. The route is entirely open and signed. It is often split into three sections:
1. Derby to Holmfirth [Pennine Cycleway South]
After a short stretch on National Route 54, much of which is the Mickleover Greenway, National Route 68 heads off north from Etwall on minor roads to Ashbourne, where it becomes the Tissington Trail for 13 miles of glorious traffic-free through the Derbyshire Dales, then becoming a section of the High Peak Trail to Pomeroy. Following this, there is a short traffic-free section on the Midshires Way north of Buxton but National Route 68 is now mainly on-road from Pomeroy up to where it follows National Route 62 and the traffic-free Longdendale Trail. After leaving Route 62 at Dunford Bridge, National Route 68 then continues on-road to Holmfirth.
2. Holmfirth to Appleby-in-Westmorland [Pennine Cycleway Central: South Pennines and the Dales]
National Route 68 is on-road all the way from Holmfirth to where it splits at Hebden Bridge. The strands reunite at Colne with the northern strand taking you entirely on-road to Colne and the southern strand taking you on-road and then traffic-free along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Burnley and Colne. There is another traffic-free section on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal between Foulridge and Thornton-in-Craven, after which the route is on-road again all the way to Appleby.
3. Appleby-in-Westmorland to Berwick-upon-Tweed[Pennine Cycleway North Pennines]
Continuing north on-road to Renwick, Cumbria, National Route 68 then shares with National Route 7 - which includes two short traffic-free sections - west to Leadgate, and then continues at Route 68 again on-road to Slaggyford. Slaggyford to Haltwhistle is predominantly traffic-free on the South Tyne Trail. National Route 68 then shares with National Route 72 for a short stretch on-road before continuing, also on-road, through the Northumberland National Park to Bellingham. The route is then predominantly on-road - other than a few short traffic-free sections - to Norham, and on to Berwick.
Ashbourne to Parsley Hay [Tissington Trail]; Burnley to Thornton-on-Craven [Leeds & Liverpool Canal]; Slaggyford to Haltwhistle [South Tyne Trail]
Map shows the National Cycle Network and local routes in this area.
National Route 68 of the National Cycle Network is known as the Pennine Cycleway. It runs up the spine of England and through three National Parks between Derby and Berwick-upon-Tweed.