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Reivers Route

Route Summary

Less-descriptively known as National Cycle Route 10, Reivers Route delves through the territories once ravaged by the Border Reivers: families who turned bloodily on their neighbours to survive in a region starved by military strife.


Here, hills have foundations in old castle ruins, local manors are fortified with thick walls and pele towers, and the churchyards hold the graves of marauders and robbers. There's wooded wilderness, too, and isolated stretches through rural Northumberland.

If you're looking for adventure, this is the route for you.


Newcastle begins the route, with its shops, museums, castles and more, providing a contrasting point rather than an introduction of what's to come.

Fortified Ponteland Castle marks the start of Reiver territory, echoed by a second pele tower standing alone in the fields just beyond the town border. St Cuthbert's Church in Bellingham, the ruin of Tarset near Lanehead and the crumbling remains at Bewcastle show the extent of the destruction.

© Airwolfhound

Grass and heather moorland surrounds these sites with wide open spaces. There is a remoteness to Reivers Route, with its vast, uninterrupted sky, glacial rocks and views across to the Cheviot Hills. In Kielder, dense evergreen forest swathes a long, sweeping section of road between the open water of the reservoir and the intact ramparts of Kielder Castle. Red squirrels, otters and roe deer aren't an uncommon sight along this section of the route.

Past Carlisle, home to an enormous castle that acted as gatehouse to the Scottish Borders, the Reivers Route climbs into the Lake District through Heskett Newmarket and then slopes down into historic Cockermouth, a gem-status town with Georgian architecture and cultural events hosted throughout the summer. The journey ends at the shoreline in Whitehaven, where a bustling harbour opens out to the Irish Sea: a country away from the distant start at Tynemouth.


From the start of Reivers Route at the River Tyne, an initially challenging incline soon flattens to an easy gradient as the route winds through Tyneside and out through Ponteland into Northumberland. A mild climb up to Stamfordham leads to rolling hills through to Hallington, descending down to Bellingham.

The route splits into two around Kielder Water, with both options posing a mild challenge before coming together to encounter short but steep ascents on the way to Newcastleton, the highest point on the route included. An overall downhill gradient with some hills continues on until the route becomes predominately flat, with just one last noteworthy climb before Hesket Newmarket.

Route profile



  • Limited road sections
  • Low-traffic country lanes
  • Dedicated cycle paths
  • Green lanes
  • Forest tracks

© Arnoooo

While the majority of Reivers Route features tarmac surfaces, these are exceptionally pitted and degraded in the most isolated parts of rural Northumberland. This, combined with an optional off-road section through the Kielder woodland, leads us to advise against using thin road tyres or a dedicated race bike on this cycling holiday.

Route NEWS

12/06/2017 Update
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Route Details

Length: 174 miles / 278 km
Start & end: Tynemouth / Whitehaven
Season: 19th March to 15th October


GRADE more info more info  
C-RR1 4 nights, 3 days £295 £385 Epic More Info Book Now
C-RR3 7 nights, 6 days £515 £695 Moderate More Info Book Now

The above itineraries show our preferred overnight stops. If accommodation is unavailable at any of these locations, we may alter the itinerary slightly.

Please note that if you choose not to book luggage transfers for your holiday, you must make sure that you are able to carry all of your luggage with you for the duration of the holiday, whether this be via the use of panniers or any other method you wish. Ensure that you test the weight of your luggage while riding well in advance, so that you are comfortable transporting your own luggage during your holiday. We particularly recommend booking mountain biking holidays with lugagge transfers included.

Pricing Information

Our prices are based upon two people sharing a room. If you are riding on your own, or are part of a group, but require a room of your own, one of the following charges applies:

  • Solo rider supplement: £45 per person / per night
  • Single supplement: £20 per person / per night

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

  • Extra night (Standard) : £50 per person / per night

What's Included

  • Accommodation in en-suite rooms with private bathrooms (where available) in selected hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • A comprehensive information pack containing maps and/or guide books, a full itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night, information about facilities and places of interest along the trail and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.
  • Emergency assistance.

Travel Information

Detailed travel information is sent to you in your holiday pack, but we have provided a summary below.

By Air
The most convenient major city and international airports are Newcastle and Manchester. There is a regular train service between Manchester airport and Newcastle (a journey of about 3 hours).

By Rail
You can catch a train to Newcastle and continue your journey to the start of the route by metro, which is within walking distance of all accommodations.

From London - You can catch a direct train from London Kings Cross Railway to Newcastle (approximately 3 hours). Then complete the journey by taking the metro to Tynemouth.

By Car
For advice on driving to the start of the trail, please visit which has a very useful route planner.

Return to Start
The easiest way to return to the start of the route is by taking a train from Whitehaven or Workington rail station, changing at Carlisle. Then complete the journey by catching a metro to Tynemouth. The journey takes approximately 4.5 hours.

Extra Night / Rest Day

This National Cycle Route spans the breadth of the UK, taking in a wide variety of sights and scenery. As the landscape changes along the trail, so do the various towns and villages encountered along the way. With so many different locations to explore, a few extra nights might be just what you need to ensure you don't miss a thing on your adventure.

Tynemouth is a great choice for an extra night, and would make a wonderful location in which to prepare for the start of your epic journey. Not only is there a great range of bars, restaurants and cafes to enjoy, but there is also a local physiotherapist and acupuncturist if you have some aches and strains in need of attention. For those looking for some gentle warm up exercise, there are plenty of options, from taking a dip in the local swimming pool, going for a gentle jog along the beautiful sandy beach, testing your skills at the golf course or simply enjoying a leisurely walk around the local area for a spot of sightseeing, making sure to visit the historical Tynemouth Priory and Collingwood Monument.

Many people like to have an extra night's stay in Carlisle, the largest city in England, with a thriving community and fascinating history. Visit the award winning Tullie House Museum, the 12th century cathedral, the half-timbered guildhall that houses a local history museum and the vast medieval castle, with its ancient chambers, stairways and the dungeons that contain the infamous 'licking stones'. As well as these and all of the usual amenities, Carlisle is a fantastic destination for shopping, dining and getting pampered at a health centre in preparation for the remainder of your cycling holiday.

Dubbed the Georgian Gem of the North, Whitehaven is well worth an extra night to give you plenty of time to explore, and the perfect location in which to celebrate the completion of your cycling holiday. Not only is there a variety of eateries, health food shops, swimming pools and sports centres to ensure you are fully recovered from your adventure, but those interested in the local history will want to check out the various museums, as well as St Nicholas' Church, Whitehaven Castle and the old harbour, all found around the local area.



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GRADE 1: Beginner

Daily distance: approx. 10 – 20 miles / 16 – 32 km
These itineraries are perfect for beginner cyclists, families or explorers eager to sight-see along the route. Expect plenty of time to relax along the way thanks to short-mileage days, with barely a hill in sight!

GRADE 2: Easy

Daily distance: approx. 15 – 25 miles / 24 – 40 km
With longer-mileage days, these itineraries will suit occasional riders who want a bit more of a challenge. As they still steer clear of steeper or more frequent climbs, they're perfect for quick riding, so you can still make plenty of time for lunch or a spot of exploration.

GRADE 3: Moderate

Daily distance: approx. 20 – 40 miles / 32 – 64 km
Longer daily distances team with a few challenging sections on these itineraries, ideal for regular cyclists confident in their fitness. Exploration stops may require an extra rest day - but there should still be time for a relaxing lunch!

GRADE 4: Hard

Daily distance: approx. 25 – 50 miles / 40 – 80 km
If you're looking to test your abilities as a keen cyclist, these are the itineraries for you. The daily mileages aren't just high, they may also include tough or frequent climbs. Get ready to pedal hard and push yourself!

GRADE 5: Epic

Daily distance: approx. 50 miles + / 80 km +
For these itineraries, you're going to need previous experience cycling long distances over consecutive days. Each is designed to test your strength and your stamina, with high mileage days and tough, frequent climbs.

*** Occasionally our itineraries can straddle between two levels of difficulty, such as 'Easy-Moderate' or 'Hard-Epic' etc. This can be for a number of reasons, such as if there is a wide range of distances between the days of the itinerary, or if the distances are ‘Easy’ but the hills and terrain involved are a bit tricky and more ‘moderate’ etc. If you require more information about any of our itineraries, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we will be more than happy to offer advice and guidance.