Whether you’re walking or cycling or simply just heading to the North of England looking for the perfect escape, The North Pennines can be the greatest escape for anyone looking to remove themselves from city life and focus on their own health and wellbeing. The Pennines gained the title Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1988 as it is one of the greatest landscapes in the UK, so if you haven’t been already – you’re really missing out.
Are the ‘mighty pennines’ worth it?
Depending on what you’re planning to do on your visit, it is ensured there will never be a dull moment. With the stunning views that this heritage site provides, and with plenty to do, 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.
The Pennines are not an easy task, but 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.
So, grab your cube mountain bikes and hiking boots because with the help of Leisure Lakes we are going to help you plan your itinerary and make your way to this stunning part of the country to create everlasting memories…
Best place to start?
The Wear & Rockhope Valleys is regarded as one of the better cycle routes in the North Pennines. From the Burnhope Reservoir to Lintzgarth Arch, the beautiful scenes will encourage you to keep pedalling and complete this trail.
It is suggested that you should begin at the Durham Dales Centre in Stanhope, so if you’re staying for the night you might be best to book a hotel close by where you can get a good night’s rest after that long ride. The Durham Dales Centre is 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.
Beginning your journey in the right way
You have your bike ready and you’re all prepared to leave, exit the Durham Dales Centre and follow the A689 towards Stanhope Town Hall – don’t be tempted to stop at the Stanhope Fish and Chips shop, you need to stay focused.
If you continue to follow this road, you will eventually reach a bridge that you need to 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.
Then once passed Saint John’s Church, continue forward where you will then reach the town centre. Here, take your second left, following the main road channelling 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.
Once you come into Allenheads, take a right and stay on the B6295 road and you arrive in Cowshill. 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.
You will then cycle past St John’s Chapel and Daddry Shield — make sure to stay on Pleasant Road and not divert onto any other 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!
Then you take a right and begin to head back towards the Durham Dales Centre. You have now completed your journey and it’s time to relax!
The average length of the journey?
The entire distance to complete this route is 24.36 miles. 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.
If you are travelling at 19mph, you will complete this course in 1 hour and 16 minutes. If you’re going 22mph, however, you will complete this cycle route in just 1 hour and 6 minutes.
Challenges of the ride
Hills can be challenging for some cyclists and depending on the weather conditions, these can become even more tricky. Fortunately, we’ve listed these in advance so that you know what you’re in for:
- Rookhope Head has a height of 1745ft and will only take 0.75 miles.
- The Brandon Walls and Hill Top has a height of 1570ft and will take 2 miles to complete.
- Burtree Fell has a height of 1836ft and will take up 1.8 miles of your journey.