Day Rides

Day rides are themed cycle routes which we’ve ridden and shared as an active way to visit interesting places in Northern England and Southern Scotland. It’s not necessarily for the challenge though many of the routes have it. Use the information to make up your own route if you fancy something different. On offer is a pleasant ride of up to 80 miles to at least one site of interest that we think is worth promoting.

Day rides usually start and finish at the same location except those that finish at a transport hub (typically a railway station). Links in the Name column go direct to the Plotaroute map where you’ll find the downloadable route files. The Start is the point where the route starts on the map (though you might prefer to join or leave elsewhere). If there’s a page linked with the route, it will be included in the Description.

How to use our Plotaroute maps.

County Durham

NameStartDistance (miles/km)SurfaceDescription
Ray Lonsdale County Durham RoundDurham64/102MixedThis route visits all eleven of South Hetton artist, Ray Lonsdale’s, distinctive sculptures within County Durham. Of them all, his best known is probably the oversized ‘Tommy/Eleven-O-One’ which you can’t miss on the promenade at Seaham. The other ten aren’t quite as obvious and that’s where this tour comes in. I appreciate that it’s on the long side, and is quite challenging for most people but it’s the locations that are important. The route is easily adapted into more manageable sections. There is a post associated with this ride.
7VCsDurham55/89MixedStarting from Neville’s Cross in Durham, this challenging route visits seven sites in County Durham & Tyne & Wear associated with recipients of the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for military gallantry. The seven are: 2nd Lt Richard Annand DLI WWII; 2nd Lt Jack Youll Northumberland Fusiliers WWI; Pvt Thomas Kenny DLI WWI; Sgt William McNally Yorkshire Regt WWI; Pvt Charles Anderson 2nd Dragoon Guards Indian Mutiny; FO Cyril Barton RAF WWII; Pvt Michael Heaviside DLI WWI.
C2C & Lanchester ValleyLangley Park34/54MixedThis is a moderate cycle ride on railway and cycle paths with short sections through busy towns. The toughest bit is a long, steady but generally sheltered, incline into prevailing winds from Birtley to Consett. Themes include sculptures on a former railway line that supplied iron ore to the steelworks at Consett before its closure in 1980. The route also crosses the site of the Battle of Neville’s Cross where English and Scottish armies clashed on 17th October 1346. Hospitality options are indicated although there are more in Consett and Chester-le-Street especially, plus cycle shops should you need them.


NameStartDistance (miles/km)SurfaceDescription
Otterburn Ranges
& Upper Coquetdale
Rothbury51/83RoadThis is one we did on our tandem. It’s a fantastic route, mainly on quiet roads which I consider to be challenging because of the constant undulations and degree of exposure particularly on the Roman road of Dere Street approaching Chew Green near the border with Scotland (the following section to Alwinton is a dream though). A substantial part of the route is within the Otterburn MOD training area for which it’s best to confirm access before making plans.
Thankful VillagesMeldon68/110RoadThis is quite a challenging ride – mainly on quiet country lanes with some tough hills – connecting the ‘Thankful Villages’ of Meldon, Northumberland and Hunstanworth in County Durham. Sadly, ‘Thankful villages’ are rare in the UK as they signify the few places to which everyone who went to fight in WWI returned safely – Meldon and Hunstanworth being the only two in North East England, probably because they’re so small.
Ponteland & Druridge BayPonteland47/76MixedThis is a fairly gentle undulating circuit which we did on our tandem, from Ponteland to Druridge Bay (NCN1 between Cresswell & Druridge Bay). Features included Ray Lonsdale’s statue of suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison in Carlisle Park, Morpeth and the Druridge Bay coast generally on what was a lovely day in early September. Chanced across a magnificent pele tower at Cockle Park before arriving at Mitford Castle (always a favourite) and the neighbouring church of St Mary Magdalene. Generally on quiet lanes (though all roads around Morpeth are busy) with a good selection of cafe options in the first half. Read our post.
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