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Hansterley Off Road

Quiet country roads and miles of easily accessible off road cycle ways make Weardale a mecca for cyclists.

The unspoilt, uncrowded network of B and C routes offer a wide range of experiences covering leisurely family bike rides / steep hill climbs and invigorating downhill rides / circular routes from 10 (16km) to 24 miles (39km)

Hamsterley Forest (right) offers some of the best off road cycling in the country with woodland rides in the 5000 acres (2000 hectares) forest.

Or explore the c2c off road moorland section between Rookhope and Rowley on what used to be the highest standard gauge railway in the country

This map shows the classification of roads within the Weardale area as a guide for cyclists who may want to use the quieter minor roads for leisurely cycling with their family.


RED : The A689 is the only A road and it runs the length of Weardale. It is a busy main road and often carries heavy vehicles. The western stretch between Frosterley and Alston is often narrow and winding with poor visibility. It is not a safe route for family cycling.

BLACK: These are classed as B roads and are numbered. They carry less traffic than the A689.

GREEN: These are metalled, but minor unclassified roads and usually carry little traffic. However cyclists should take care as these roads are narrow, winding and they may carry large farm traffic and service vehicles. Riders on horseback may also use these routes.

PURPLE: These are off-road sections of the C2C cycle track which follow an old railway line across moorland and are mostly gentle gradients. They are sometimes closed for gamekeeping reasons.

NO COLOUR: These may be private roads to farms, service roads or unmetalled bridlepaths and byways.

GRADIENTS: This is hilly country so expect steep hills where you might have to get off your bike and push, but the high minor roads often offer rewarding views across the valley. BEWARE that the steep downhill stretches can be dangerous.

Image Credits
Slider: Comfortable Accommodation - D. T. Heatherington; Show Time - Weardale Agricultural Society; Killhope North of England Lead Mining Museum; Peace and Tranquility- Visit England/Visit County Durham - Stanhope Moor; Outdoors and Active - Weardale House YMCA;  Dark Skies - Weardale at Night - Gary Lintern; Eating Alfresco - J. Stephenson; Vibrant Villages - D. T. Heatherington; Polar Express - Cube Creative Group

Individual Images: Room with a view - D. T. Heatherington; Dine out - VisitEngland/Visit County Durham, Diana Jarvis;   Food Festival at Auckland Castle - D. T. Heatherington; Killhope North of England Lead Mining Museum; Outdoor and Active - Science at Life;  Peace and Tranquility - Andrea Holmes, Snap Happy Hippy;  Cycling - North Pennines AONB Partnership, S. Harris; Weardale Way footpath sign, Peter Elliott; Find your Ancestors - Weardale Museum