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Mountain Bike Guide Northumberland

Northumnerland Mountain Bikeing Routes

This is a classic mountain biking guide written by Derek Purdy. First published in 1992. Revised and published in 1996 and 2005.

A bumper guide of 40 routes, all thoroughly researched, covering the North East from the Scottish border to the A689 in the south, and from the east coast road to Haltwhistle.

Bridleways, forest tracks, old drove roads, ancient commercial routes and neglected county roads. Routes for all abilities with options to link some to extend the challenge for the fittest. Each route is graded and includes the amount on different surfaces eg moorland track, forest road, farm roads, tarmac etc. The high points along the way & facilities.

The cover looks dated but inside the text is clear and accompanied by good overview maps of the routes.

All in all a great guide to discovering this gem of an area.

Happy riding!

See below for route details

Book Details:
ISBN 9780948153877. Published: 2005
Author: Derek Purdy
168 Pages, Book Size: A5

Great Value


RRP £12.00

Fast Despatch

The Mountain Biking Routes

Map showing the approximate recommended starting points for each route as indicated in the book.
Click on a marker for route information.


In the guide each route includes a map with the route highlighted and clear text directions.

Summary of the routes:

Route 1. The Hagg

Grade: Sporting. Distance: 13km

The easiest route in the book designed to give the beginner a taste of mountain biking. Includes the bridleway over Brown Rigg which is one of the most entertaining in the county.

Route 2. Powburn Country Roads

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 18.5km

A route that makes good use of old county roads - these are thoroughfares that might have been surfaced but if going by car you would usually need a good 4x4 to negotiate them. Offers some of the finest view of the Cheviot Hills.

Route 3. Millfield and Coldside Hill

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 16.5km

A sneaky mountain bike loop, one of the routes you could take someone new to mountain biking around- there are enough difficulties to give a flavour of what its all about.

Route 4. Wooler Water and Colmartin Loughs

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 17km

Little climbs that will test the best. Great views as rewards.

Route 5. Circuit of Greensheen Hill

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 13km

A supreme family route, mainly well surfaced with gradual climbs and the views are great.

Route 6. Ford Moss and Doddington

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 26km

Probably the most varied route in the book as there are so many different terrain types. Nothing too technical.

Route 7. Bewick Moor

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 16km

A mountain biking route that is so entertaining that you could go back tomorrow, do it in the opposite direction and see just as much again!

Route 8. Boulmer

Grade: Sporting. Distance: 18km

When you need to convince someone that mountain biking really is easy and fun this is the route to do.

Route 9. Rothbury Carriage Drive

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 12km

Just the thing for a nice day out. The route is not very long but its amazing situation affords extensive views.

Route 10. Alnwick Coast and Country

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 43km

Enormous variation of surfaces and provides interest and great views any time of year.

Route 11. Lindisfarne or Holy Island

Grade: Sporting. Distance: 20km

Not a 'mountain bike' route in the purest sense, but is unusual, fun and packed with interest.

Cheviot Hills


Route 12. Alwinton Short Cut

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 8km

A 'starter' route in the hear to the Cheviot Hills. The ride to start puts you in real hill country. Then a climb from Kidlandelee Dean brings new rewards for every meter gained.

Route 13. Wooler Common and Broadstruther

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 17.5km

A few sections that will test your mountain biking technique to the limit. The route is open to the elements and if windy is best left for another day.

Route 14. Barrowburn Loop

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 8km

A little loop that is all off road. Rewarding, strength sapping in places, it is all rideable if you are fit enough, but all but the best will dismount at least once - now there's a challenge!

Route 15. Langlee Crags & Threestoneburn

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 20km

Super moorland, excellent hard packed fast farm tracks, good stretch of old county road plus fair percentage on tarmac. However one for during a dry spell as the peaty sections can become too boggy!

Route 16. Ingram and Alnham

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 19km

This starts off in one of the bonniest and most popular Northumbrian valleys - usually referred to as the Ingram Valley. A very open route with a tremendous feeling of space on the watershed at Hart Law.

Route 17. Deel's Hill and The Border Range

Grade: Expert. Distance: 22.5km

A real mountain biking test and one that is generally dry both in Winter and Summer.

Route 18. Ingram, Bleakhope and Alnham

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 25.5km

One of the author's favorite routes - recommendation enough!

Route 19. Middle Route

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 22km

Includes an excellent trail over the 'Pass Peth' from Shilmoor to Alwinton.

Route 20. The Street

Grade: Expert. Distance: 30km

If you are very very fit this is all rideable, but for normal folk there's a bit of pushing.

Route 21. Clennel Street and Alters Road

Grade: Expert. Distance: 38km

A serious route for real mountain bikers. Three major climbs and of course downhills to match.

Route 22. Kielder Forest Drive and The Wheel Causeway

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 59km

A long route with about half on tarmac (though this feels a lot less - maybe due to the severity of the rest). Includes four sustained climbs.

Mid Northumberland


Route 23. Harwood Forest

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 14km

This route includes the longest direct bridleway across the western side of Simonside Hills.

Route 24. Wansbeck Wanderings

Grade: Sporting. Distance: 32km

A beautiful route at any time of year. Very varied with good tests

Route 25. Vallum

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 26km

To the lover of remote places the rewards of this ride are high - however before embarking ask yourself how much you enjoy walking and is your determination high. If in doubt avoid this ride as it could put you off mountain biking for life!

Route 26. Bloody Bush Toll Road

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 35km

A route maybe for those folk that are fit enough to do a fair amount of mileage, but perhaps are new to mountain biking. It is a good loop to get the feel of the bike and see what it will do.

Route 27. Cross Border Route

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 43km

A great route that is waymarked all the way.

Route 28. Butterwell Bridleways

Grade: Sporting. Distance: 28km

Good riding with excellent views of the surrounding countryside.

Route 29. Watergate

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 37km

A route through seldom visited but quite dramatic Northumbrian countryside, includes a couple of old roads now seeing little use and some fine wild bridleways.

Route 30. Percy's Moss

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 22.5km

A super steep farm road, a sustained high speed descent into Bellingham and renewed acquaintance with old rally roads.

Route 31. Roads Round Rubbingston Hill

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 27km

Invariably the first part of the route climbs stiffly, very stiffly in places, but rest assured you get all of it back in a most sporting fashion!

Route 32. Makemerich & Frolic

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 24km

A tough route with good variation.

South West Northumberland


Route 33. Stobb Cross Loop

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 26km

You will need the lowest of gears to get out of Allendale Town, a certain amount of skill and strength to ride from Stobb Cross to the Green Box, and a fair bit of common sense and faith in your map reading to choose the right track west across the moor to the finish.

Route 34. Blanchland Moor

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 16km

A lovely route at any time of year. Involves some exhilarating downhills and inevitably a couple of climbs too!

Route 35. Stobb Cross Extension

Grade: Energetic. Distance: 17km

Includes a great downhill section from Watson's Pike to Kingslaw Plantation - one of the author's all time favorites.

Route 36. Moors of Greenrigg & Eshells

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 21km

A very moor orientated route - next to no cover; so be warned if windy or rainy.

Route 37. Long Cross

Grade: Expert. Distance: 37km

A mountain bike route of slow speed toil and high speed reward! It either goes up or down.

Route 38. Hexmanshire Common

Grade: Strenuous. Distance: 33km

An area criss-crossed by a superb network of ancient bridleways and packhorse routes.

Route 39. Castles, Climbs & Clarts

Grade: Expert. Distance: 40km

The climbs are numerous! but then come the descents!

Route 40. Featherstone, South Tyne

Grade: Sporting. Distance: 18km

A railway trail and country roads.


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