Lockdown leads to some different but enjoyable routes

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Keith Aungiers
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Re: Lockdown leads to some different but enjoyable routes

Post by Keith Aungiers »

Good to hear that you are back and free to do more than circuits of your Spanish apartment, Hugh. So-called lockdown here has been less strict but seems to have brought a renewed interest in seeking out the less travelled ways. Roger is doing some great routes, some of which I did way back in the mists of time.

Roger, my previous suggestions were mainly road-based but I have a few more off-road suggestions that might keep you busy. Writing about them has inspired me to try some of the routes again soon.

1. Tone Lane and Rede Bridge

If you are doing Ryal to Hallington via Westside then on to Colt Crag, you could keep going past Carrycoats Hall then along a short bit of A68 northwards to the house that used to be the Tone Inn. Turn left there to pick up Tone Lane and emerge at the top of the Vomit. Head down the hill, around the square bend then turn right opposite the Buteland road. The track will lead you down to the old stone Rede Bridge, a good place for an alfresco stop. Once over the bridge turn right and follow the Border County Ride to join the road to West Woodburn. There, take the lane to East Woodburn where straight on up the road to Whetstone House. Continue straight along the track then turn right and right again to join the road to Knowesgate past Gt Wanney Crag.

2. Corsenside Common

As an alternative, head to Hareshaw Head then take the minor road across the artillery ranges at Corsenside common. Go straight on at A68 and follow the road to where it turns right. Go straight on along the track to come out on the hill just north of East Woodburn. There are various bridleways from there heading east towards Linnheads and Wishaw but I remember them as being somewhat heathery and vague in places.

3. Raechester to Chesters

I think that you may know the lane from A696 north of Knowesgate at Raechester then on via Catcherside and Chesters. It is a lovely route with a few gates and especially good in spring with lambs in the fields.

4. Howlett Hall

Nearer to home, if you haven't already done the Howlett Hall route it is definitely worth a try. You have certainly ridden past it many times. Start on the lane towards Bolam from Whalton, through a gate on the north side of the road. The first section is a paved road, crossing under the old railway line before reaching the farm at Howlett Hall. Watch out for the dogs as you dismount to go through the gate straight ahead. The first, short section of the track heading north is rather rutted but from where it turns west it becomes a proper made (but grassy) road, which gets a bit stony just before reaching Low Angerton.

5. Rothley Mill

The track via Rothley Mill is worth doing. Start at the t junction on B6343 just east of Scots Gap. Head north to drop into the valley and cross the Hart Burn then go up through the fields on a farm track to Rothley. Left here will bring you out on the climb to Rothley Crossroads. Right will lead you on to a number of bridleways via Whitridge and Southwitton.

6. Garden House

Further east, the track towards Garden House from west of Hartburn drops into a dene and across a footbridge before turning right up the hill for Wittonstone and the road from Longwitton towards the Dyke Neuk.

7. Nunriding Hall

Finally, for now, from west of Mitford on B6343 the road via Newton Underwood to Nunriding Hall is really good. Thence it is possible to follow a good track north through the woods then west past Longshaws to the road south from Netherwitton or to continue northwards to emerge on the road at Stanton Mill, west of Pigdon.

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Roger Clarke
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Re: Lockdown leads to some different but enjoyable routes

Post by Roger Clarke »

Some good suggestions there!
1. I had spotted Tone Lane on the map. never been to Rede Bridge but have done that stretch of the Border County Ride (also Sandstone Way).
2. Rode Corsenside Common with a Sunday club ride earlier this year (not sure I was very popular for that one on a cold wet day!) There is still some tarmac to be found in two thin strips!! The track to East Woodburn is also Sandstone Way.
I've been looking at the routes you mention East of East Woodburn in 1. and 2. - Looks like there is also an interesting track on the old railway line through the Ray Estate but sadly mostly not a public right of way.
3. Yes, rode that a few years back and was fine on a road bike - nice little road.
4. Didn't know of that one so will give it a go.
5. and 6. Both of those were on my radar to be ridden.

I had in mind sometime this year to ride route 68 through from the military road near Haltwhistle to Whygate having caught the train out, but will put that off for now. I've also been looking at the route out of Elsdon through Whitlees and Harwood Forest - as far as I can tell Harwood Forest is open access on a bike?

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Keith Aungiers
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Re: Lockdown leads to some different but enjoyable routes

Post by Keith Aungiers »

Route 68 is definitely worth doing Roger as the road goes through quite remote and lumpy countryside north of Hadrian's wall before entering the forest. In days of yore we used to ride there and back, usually from the Whygate end but it made for a long day. Train to Haltwhistle sounds more civilised. At one time the tarmac extended west beyond Whygate but it was 'restored' to a stony track some years ago.

The back route out of Elsdon is an old CTC staple. The lane starting at the north end of the village is lovely but has quite a severe climb. At the top one can join a forest road that is roughly circular. We used to follow this then dive down a firebreak somewhere near Manside cross. There may now be a link road to Harwood. The forest appears to be open access.

From Harwood there are 2 main routes heading north to the Coquet valley from Chartners - a westerly one to Hepple Whitfield and a more easterly one to the Lordenshaw road. There is also a link through from north of Fallowlees to Newbiggin and Font Burn Reservoir but the eastern bit outside of the forest is sketchy. Bob Holywell did some rides around Harwood forest when he first got his gravel bike so he may have more information. Back in the day a CTC midsummer overnight ride used the tracks through the forest (it wasn't my idea although it was good fun).

In the past the Ray estate seemed quite hostile to cyclists. I did once cycle the old railway line via Summit Cottages but Lord Devonport the estate owner did not approve (NB: not to be confused with fraudster and property developer 'Lord' Davenport).

Hugh Harrison
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Re: Lockdown leads to some different but enjoyable routes

Post by Hugh Harrison »

If anyone fancys a trundle up the track to Parkhead. Leaving Swalwell cricket club car park at 10 am. All welcome.

Alan Holmes
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Re: Lockdown leads to some different but enjoyable routes

Post by Alan Holmes »

Hugh,
I didn’t go as far as Parkhead. Rather than return to Swalwell by the same route , I picked up Route 7 from Consett. Not quite sure where I left it (I have it on ride with GPS) I headed to Beamish, fabulous off road track from there, then Tanfield finishing off at Pedalling Squares


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Keith Aungiers
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Re: Lockdown leads to some different but enjoyable routes

Post by Keith Aungiers »

Good to hear that you are getting out Alan. The route back from Consett via Annfield Plain is great as it is well-surfaced, nearly all down hill and often with a tail wind. I sometimes leave the route at High Handenhold, as it is easy from there to drop into the Team Valley via High Urpeth, or carry on as far as Fatfield for a route back through Washington. Your route via Beamish sounds good and I'll give that a try next time I am out that way. I would also recommend the Tanfield, Bowes and Monkton route that was going to be the first of a proposed series of Vags off-road trips before it was wiped out by the virus. The Angel Cycleway is also worth doing for good views of the Angel. I'm keen on redoing the Brandon-Bishop Auckland and Deerness Valley routes sometime before the summer's gone.

Maybe one day soon we might be able to ride some of these routes together.

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Keith Aungiers
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Re: Lockdown leads to some different but enjoyable routes

Post by Keith Aungiers »

It suits my whimsical side that many of the lanes I cycle along have interesting names. Without signage or local knowledge the best way to find out these names is by detailed study of maps. Sometimes the names relate to geographical features, our heritage of heavy industries and farming, fauna or flora, an incident that happened some time in the past, or who knows what?

Once clear of the urban area today, for example, my route first took me up Summerhill before joining Beweshill Lane. I avoided Herd House Lane (a Covid-19 connection?) and continued along Lead Road. A while later along a different Lead Lane I joined Fine Lane which then took me to Burnmill Bank. Evocative Snow's Green Road led to rather prosaic West Law Road (a lovely lane). Where Whinny Lane headed up a steep hill I turned left into Springhouse Lane. Steep Shaw Lane led me up to join Cut Throat Lane (some history there perhaps) then on to Longclose Bank. I then followed self-explanatory Fellside Road but Whagg's Lane will have to wait for another day. Nearly 2000' of climbing in under 25 miles, if the bits to and from Jesmond are taken out:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/33628648

These are just the names shown on maps, of course, and there may be other, local names too. One of my favourite examples is the local name for Hospital Lane which runs from Newburn past the site of the former Lemington Isolation Hospital (Smallpox not Covid). A mate from that area refers to it as "Piggie's Lonnen" and now so do I. If you have ever ridden up it you might want to call it something else!

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Roger Clarke
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Re: Lockdown leads to some different but enjoyable routes

Post by Roger Clarke »

I know where Cut Throat Lane is.

I raise you this one, passed earlier this year en route to Hookergate Lane!
knobbyends_lane.jpg
knobbyends_lane.jpg (120.47 KiB) Viewed 22 times

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Keith Aungiers
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Re: Lockdown leads to some different but enjoyable routes

Post by Keith Aungiers »

Funnily enough I passed the end of that lane in June this year on my way from Winlaton to High Spen. I passed the other end a short while later on the way back from Barlow. That was the day that there were a lot of strange guys at High Spen. The one outside the pub bore the name Juan Tomeni. He was still there when I passed that way more recently.

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