Disused railways take cyclists to less familiar places

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Keith Aungiers
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:55 pm
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Disused railways take cyclists to less familiar places

Post by Keith Aungiers » Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:30 pm

I have been rediscovering some of the many disused railway routes in the local area. I have used at least some parts of most of them a long time ago. In the intervening years they have been recognised as usable and interesting, in some cases upgraded, and incorporated into national or regional cycling routes. Some of the routes go into areas to which one would rarely consider travelling. Each route has its own characteristics and has something to offer cyclists with an interest in gravel riding and off-road experiences.

I am considering putting together a loose programme of mid-week (Tuesday or Thursday)off-road rides to explore, link and enjoy some of the routes local to Tyneside and also slightly further afield. If any members are interested in joining me please let me know and I'll go ahead with this idea. Here are some of the routes that I have in mind (asterisk denotes ones I have tried recently):

- Coxlodge waggonway *
- Hadrian's cycle route (part) *
- waggonways of North Tyneside *
- North Walbottle waggonway *
- Tanfield Railway Path *
- Bowes railway path and Monkton cycleway *
- Derwent walk *
- Wylam waggonway *
- Waskerley Way
- Lanchester valley route
- Deerness valley cycle way
- Bishop-Brandon cycle route
- Consett to Sunderland route *
- Ryhope to Haswell
- Haswell to Hart
- Castle Eden walkway

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Roger Clarke
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Re: Disused railways take cyclists to less familiar places

Post by Roger Clarke » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:15 am

I'd be interested in occasional rides like this. I have an idea for a ride from Newburn to Wheelbirks that mixes old railway tracks, byways and minor roads which might be of interest.

Jeff Sylph
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Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:35 pm

Re: Disused railways take cyclists to less familiar places

Post by Jeff Sylph » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:41 pm

Most Tuesday mornings I ride out with three friends from Whitley Bay,principally using pathways of one sort or another. They don't like riding on the roads. Two hybrids -one electric, two road bikes. Generally 30-40 miles with a cafe stop. Favourite routes are up the Tyne to Scotswood bridge then down South side to Tunnel or Ferry. To Sunderland via Ferry or Tunnel, along Wear, up to Whitburn to South Shields. To Newbiggin via Blyth, Bedlington etc. and return.

Jeff Sylph
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:35 pm

Re: Disused railways take cyclists to less familiar places

Post by Jeff Sylph » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:50 pm

Forgot to mention that I found the Cycle Maps available from our local libraries very useful when we first started on the tracks and trails. I got a set of all six from South Shields library but that doesn't apply everwhere ! And my friends aren't Vags !

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Keith Aungiers
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:55 pm
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Re: Disused railways take cyclists to less familiar places

Post by Keith Aungiers » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:38 pm

Interesting Jeff, I have free time on Tuesdays so perhaps we could meet somewhere en route one day (I live in Jesmond). Brian Finlay might also be interested. I have never seen you on a bike. Your friends might not be Vags but some Vags are your friends!

I'd be happy to join you on your proposed route, Roger

Chris Robson
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Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:17 pm

Re: Disused railways take cyclists to less familiar places

Post by Chris Robson » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:47 pm

Gents, this is a fine initiative and I'm up for coming along on some of these. My working shifts often give me a midweek day off, so could come along now and again? One unintended consequence of the disappearance of heavy industries on Tyneside & Wearside is that it has left us miles of former railway lines now converted to cycle routes. Sustrans has led the way in developing this network, but underfunding means that much of it is now neglected and in a bit of a sorry state. When I came over to cycling from running, it was these paths that first led me to some serious riding, doing the C2C, Hadrians Way and Coast & Castles routes, all of which allow you to avoid heavy traffic as you try and navigate a way out of the city. I live in the East end of the city, so would happily meet anywhere on the network.

Gordon Atkinson
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:52 pm

Re: Disused railways take cyclists to less familiar places

Post by Gordon Atkinson » Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:43 pm

Shortly after the Tyne Cycle Tunnel reopened (7/8/19) I said that I would lead a TOGS ride to Jarrow Hall via minor roads, cycle paths, waggonways and the tunnel. I would need to consult Keith about a suitable return route. But I said it would have to wait until the new high capacity inclined lifts were in operation. We are still waiting. I've ridden the outward route on my winter road bike (25 tyres).
I've ridden Hadrian Cycle Route between the north end of the tunnel and the Quayside on the same bike.

Please keep me posted.
I would add that today I rode the Keelmans Way from the south side of the tunnel to Gateshead. While it was just about rideable on my road bike, the surface is very poor in places, the route is on road to Hebburn, it is difficult to follow in places, and it is not a scenic route. I wouldn't recommend it, and pleased to see it is not on Keith's list!

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