A fascinating adventure awaits both walkers and cyclists wherever they head across the North of England. However, the North Pennines stands out in particular to those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty since 1988, the Pennines, boasts one of the UK’s best landscapes. Depending on what you plan to do there, whether you’re a hiker or a cyclist, there will never be a dull moment. With the stunning views that this heritage site provides, you will constantly be pushing yourself to find the most magnificent spot – although this could prove to be difficult as the entire area is breath-taking.
A challenge often awaits when exploring the Pennines though. However, that seems to be the core reason as to why people keep returning regularly — to head out and achieve more of their goals. The North Pennines has heather moors, peatlands, dales, meadows, upland rivers and woodland areas, meaning you have plenty to explore when you get there.
Ready to venture across the Mighty Pennines? Then get your hiking boots (here’s a packing list you can use) and mountain bikes ready and follow this handy itinerary put together by Leisure Lakes Bikes:
If you want to see a little of everything across the North Pennines, the Wear & Rockhope Valleys is one of the region’s better cycle routes. From the Burnhope Reservoir to Lintzgarth Arch, the beautiful scenes will encourage you to keep pedaling and complete this trail.
Your meeting point should be the Durham Dales Centre found in Stanhope. It’s home to a gift shop, craft shop, and tea room, giving you the opportunity to have a warm drink before you set off on your journey.
Once you’re ready, exit from the Durham Dales Centre and work your way along the A689 on the way to Stanhope Town Hall. Just don’t be tempted to stop at the Stanhope Fish and Chips shop, as you need to stay focused.
Eventually, the route will take you to a bridge that you must cross. Proceed in the direction you’re currently going in, before taking your third right and following the road upwards. You will pass Greenfoot Hotel and Greenhead Farm before eventually reaching Rockhope. If you need to have a break in Rockhope, The Rockhope Inn would be the ideal place to stop. It has outdoor seating so you can grab a drink and freshen yourself up.
The next checkpoint is Saint John’s Church, followed by the town center that you will reach by continuing forward. Here, take your second left, following the main road channeling the Rockhope Burn river where you will come to Allenheads. Once you’ve reached Allenheads, a stopping off point would be the Allenheads Inn as it a popular destination for cyclists and hikers alike.
After seeing Allenheads, turn right and remain on the B6295 where you will be taking the route to Cowshill. Once in Cowshill, the only place you will be able to stop at will be the Cowshill Hotel. Fortunately, they are more than welcoming to cyclists who are stopping by for a well-deserved break. After this visit, follow the road downwards where you will come to the A689 road — remain on this road and continue to Ireshopeburn.
The next landmarks to look out for will be, firstly, St John’s Chapel and then Daddry Shield. Just ensure you remain on Pleasant Road as opposed to diverting onto another route. This area is full of different cafes and pubs, including Chatterbox Café, The Golden Lion, and The Blue Bell Inn. You will then reach Brotherlee, where you need to remain on the road that you’re currently on and eventually you will pass Horsley Hall – a country hotel. Continue following this road and you will reach a bridge crossing the River Wear. Take the right onto the B6278 here and you will be back in Stanhope!
The final leg of the journey involves you taking a right and then proceeding back towards the Durham Dales Centre where your adventure began!
The estimated time
You will travel for 24.36 miles if you follow this entire route as it has been explained above. If you’re completing this at a speed of 10mph, you should complete this in 2 hours, 26 minutes. For those who are a bit quicker, at 13mph you will reach the finish line in 1 hour, 52 minutes.
The course time will be more like 1 hour and 16 minutes if you travel at 19mph. If you’re going 22mph, however, you will complete this cycle route in just 1 hour and 6 minutes.
The challenge of the route’s hills
There are a few difficult hills to navigate around when trying to conquer the Mighty Pennines route, which could be made even more challenging when the weather conditions are bleak and harsh. Fortunately, we’ve listed these in advance so that you know what you’re in for:
- The Brandon Walls and Hill Top have a height of 1570ft and will take 2 miles to complete.
- Rookhope Head has a height of 1745ft and will only take 0.75 miles.
- Burtree Fell has a height of 1836ft and will take up 1.8 miles of your journey.