HISTORY, BEAUTY SPOTS AND WILDLIFE
Far from limited to a single topic, the cycleway boasts a wide range of sights spaced all the way through history to the present day. Visit pre-Norman crosses at Beckermet Church; the impressive ruins of the 13th century priory at Lanercost; the sunsets that captivated Turner, the 18th century "painter of light", at seaside Silloth; and the sweeping arch of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge in Newcastle.
Wildlife is abundant along the cycleway. Bowness-on-Solway's shingle beds and sand dunes provide essential homes for a broad range of birdlife, which can be viewed from numerous dedicated hides and laybys. Keep an eye out for the elusive red squirrel - Northumberland and Cumbria are two of their few remaining habitats.
When your journey through the natural landscape is complete, the route follows canal paths and riversides through vibrantly-regenerated Newcastle until it reaches its end at the walled ruin of Castle and Priory, right on the shore of the North Sea.
TOURING HIGHLIGHTS ROMAN RUINS
For the Roman enthusiast, Hadrian's Cycleway offers near-endless opportunities to divert to ancient sites and museums. In Ravenglass stands the ruin of a bath house, one of the tallest remaining Roman structures in Britain, while the largest collection of Roman altars in Europe can be found at the Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport.
Between Carlisle and Newcastle there are milecastles hiding around every corner, with famous sites at Birdsowald, Housesteads and Vindolanda supported by lesser known treasures such as Piper Sike Turret and Harrows Scar Milecastle.
At the end of the route, the viewing point at the Segedunum Roman Museum offers the chance to look back over the land you have crossed, providing brilliant views of Hadrian's Wall itself.
Mild undulations at the start of the route reach a peak at Moor Row before descending to Whitehaven. A gradual climb leads up to Distington and dips back down to Workington, and gentle undulations lead the way to Silloth.
Beyond Silloth, the route is almost entirely flat until Warwick Bridge. From here on it rises and falls steeply through Haltwhistle and clambers all the way up to the route's highest point at Crindledykes, 256 metres above sea level. It's a long, undulating descent from here down to Newbrough, broken by a hard but short ascent at Fourstones. Only one noteworthy climb remains, leading into Ovingham, and this is barely moderate in difficulty after the hills that have preceded it.
THE TERRAIN SOLID SURFACES THROUGHOUT
- Smooth, low-traffic roads
- Country lanes
- Dedicated traffic-free cycle paths
- Riverside paths
Hadrian's Cyclepath rarely strays from good tarmac roads. When it does, it keeps to well-surfaced off-road tracks; only racing slicks will encounter any difficulty on this route.
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