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New 800-mile Great North Trail for cyclists and walkers

Written by Fiona

September 04 2019

National cycling charity, Cycling UK, has launched the Great North Trail, which extends from the Peak District to John o’ Groats and Cape Wrath in Scotland.

The Great North Trail is 800 miles long and has been created to answer a demand from cyclists for greater access to the countryside on routes largely away from traffic.

Around 98 per cent of the Great North Trail is on bridleways, byways, cycle routes, unpaved roads and very low traffic minor roads.

It uses some existing established trails, such as the Pennine Bridleway and Cross Borders Drove Road, but extensive research has been carried out to link these through a network of trails, forest roads and abandoned railway lines.

The Great North Trail heads to the most northerly points of Scotland. Credit: Max Darkins
Aneela McKenna (Go-Where Scotland) and Sophie Gordon (Cycling UK) riding at Kirkhope Law, Peebles.
The Great North Trail offers very varied landscapes and terrain.

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns, said: “We know that around a quarter of people who use the National Trails do so on bikes, yet only two of the 15 National Trails in England and Wales are fully open for cycling.

“We’ve created the Great North Trail because we recognised very little has been done to promote national off-road trails. For example, plans to extend the Pennine Bridleway to Scotland were published 20 years ago, but still haven’t been implemented.

“And, yet, we know there is an appetite for more cycling access to the countryside. Off-road trails can be ideal for families to ride safely, away from traffic and city pollution.”

Cyclists at Wycoller Country Park in Lancashire.
Riding along the Pennine Bridleway.
Max Darkins (Rough Ride Guide) riding part of Cycling UK’s Great North Trail in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park.

Find out more: Great North Trail

See: Map of the route.

See Great North Trail.

The 800-mile route takes in some of northern England and Scotland’s most iconic spots of natural beauty, running through the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Kielder Forest, Corrieyairack Pass, Loch Ness and Cape Wrath.

Cycling UK has been assisted in creating the trail by the Obscura Mondo Cycle Club’s work in creating a route from Glasgow to Cape Wrath called the An Turas Mor, Scottish Gaelic for “The Long Journey”.

The route is available to view online on the Cycling UK website, where you can find an extensive route guide and downloadable route files (GPX), and also on the Ordnance Survey’s online service.

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