Rides within Northumberland

Route Published: September 15, 2019

Suggested local rides within Northumberland’s county boundaries. Rides start from the Roman town of Corbridge, 16 miles west of Newcastle. Arrive from the north or south via the A68. (Consider joining with one of our other routes to North Yorkshire, Cumbria or Scotland.)

Cafés and tea rooms listed are all bike-friendly and regular re-fuelling stops on Northumbria Advanced Motorcyclist’s group rides.

Tourist Routes

Route 1 - Northumberland Coast, Wild Cattle and Country Lanes

Distance
149 miles (240 km)

An easy jaunt through Northumberland taking, in some Northumbria Advanced Motorcyclists' favourite roads, such as the B6343, the B6341, a stretch of the A696 and the B6348. All lovely roads with great views all the way.

Consider extending the ride to include a detour to Lindisfarne Castle and Monastary on Holy Island. Holy Island is accessible at low tide via a causeway road. To avoid being one of several vehicles stranded every year, be sure to check tide times   carefully and follow all instructions on the Northumberland County Council web site.

Route Description

From Corbridge head north on B6529, crossing the A69, to pick up the A68.

Turn right onto the B6342 past Kirkharle (early coffee/breakfast stop) to Cambo, then right to the market town of Morpeth on the B6343. Turn right to join the A192 through the centre of Morpeth and pick up B1337 and the start of the Coastal Route. Follow the B1337 through Longhirst and Ulgham to join the A1068 through Amble and along the links to Warkworth Castle. Turn right in front of the castle and continue on the A1068 to Lesbury and turn on to the B1339.

(Consider optional detours to Craster’s famous smokehouses and Low Newton-By-The-Sea with stunning views back over Embleton Bay to Dunstonbrough Castle.)

Follow the B1340 through the popular coastal villages of Beadnell and Seahouses towards the looming Bamburgh Castle. Fork right after the castle and follow the B1342 through Warren Mill, cross the A1 to join the B6349 through Chatton and Chillingham and head to Alnwick on the B6346.

After Alnwick, join the sweeping B6341 to Rothbury and Elsdon. Turn right onto the A696 briefly before turning left on the B6320 at Otterburn, following the road through Bellingham to Chollerford. Cross over the River North Tyne and take the first right on to the A6079. Finally, join the A69 to head east back towards Hexham and Corbridge.

Food and Drink

  • Sunnyhills Farm Shop (Belford) - local and artisan produce.
  • Otterburn Mill (Otterburn)
  • Brockbushes Farm Shop - local produce from craft ales from local breweries to cheeses from the Northumberland Cheese Farm.

Look Out For

  • Kirkharle Courtyard   - Birthplace of famous landscape gardener Capability Brown. Within the courtyard explore Northumbrian and artisan products, galleries, art studios and coffee house.
  • Chillingham Wild Cattle   - One of the oldest and purest herds of cattle in the world.
  • Alnwick Castle   - home of the current Duke of Northumberland and backdrop to many TV and film productions including Downton Abbey, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and the Harry Potter films.
  • Cragside House and Gardens   (National Trust) - Home of Victorian inventor Lord Armstrong and the first house ever to have been lit by hydroelectricity.

Route 2 - Open Moorland and Military Road

Distance
86 miles (139 km)

Ride through the North Pennines (area of outstanding natural beauty) before descending into the Tyne Valley to follow the sweeping Military Road east alongside Hadrian’s Wall.

Route Description

From Corbridge, cross the River Tyne and bear left on Station Road (B6529) and join the A695. Turn onto the B6307 and then B6306 views over the Derwent Reservoir as you ride to Blanchland. (Consider a breakfast stop at the White Monk Tea Room opposite Blanchland Abbey).

From Blanchland, head due west (Clap Shaw) and climb Bale Hill onto a well surfaced, single-track road across open moorland. Merge with the B6278 and head south into Stanhope. Turn right onto the A689 through Weardale and the popular, sweeping motorcycle route to Alston. (As an alternative, quieter option, turn right at Eastgate to climb back onto open common and pass through Rookhope and Allenheads before dropping back down to the A689 at Nenthead.)

Once in Alston, turn left onto the A686 for a short distance before rejoining the A689 following the River South Tyne to Lambley.

Turn right and follow a narrow farm road back across the river heading east along Clattering Causeway before dropping back down into the Tyne Valley at Plenmeller. Turn left onto A69 and first right into Haltwhistle (which claims to be the centre of Britain). Turn left past the War Memorial and left again to climb Comb Hill Road to join the classic B6318 Military Road. Head east following the ancient Hadrian’s Wall and its Roman Forts at Housteads and Vindelanda before coming to coming to a roundabout at the junction with the A68. Turn right to return to Corbridge.

Food and Drink

  • The White Monk (Blanchland)
  • Durham Dales Centre (Stanhope)
  • The Forge (Allendale)
  • The Sill (Bardon Mill)

Look Out For

  • Housesteads Roman Fort   (English Heritage) - Take time off the bike to walk a section of Hadrian’s Wall. The Fort at Housesteads includes the remains of Roman baths, barracks and a hospital. The museum has and has stunning views to Scotland and over the Tyne Valley.
  • If this has whetted your apetitie for more Roman history, extend your day out with visits to the auxilliary fort at Vindolanda Museum   and Chesters Roman Fort and Museum   (English Heritage) near Chollerford.

Route 3 - Kielder Resevoir and Forest Drive

Distance
77miles (125km)

Note: This route takes in 12 miles of the scenic forest drive from Blakehopeburnhaugh to Kielder Castle. The drive is across remote countryside and tracks are covered in loose stone. There is a toll (currently £3) payable at a machine at Kielder Castle.

Food and Drink

  • Kielder Castle Café (Kielder)
  • Carriages Tea Room (Bellingham)

Look Out For

Other Information

If time allows, take the train to Newcastle City Centre. There are motorcycle dealers and accessory shops on Westgate Road, a short walk from Central Station. Consider returning to Corbridge on the ‘Raj Style’ Curry Train for a meal at The Valley restaurant.

Other places to stay

  • YHA The Sill at Hadrian’s Wall
  • Kielder Campsite
  • The Pheasant, Falstone (near Kielder Reservoir)

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