North Northumberland has to be one of the best places in the country for the recreational cyclist, with two Sustrans National Cycle Routes and miles of quiet country roads with fantastic scenery on offer.
Occasionally, however, a busy and winding rural road poses something of a safety issue for the cyclist and this is where the provision of a dedicated off-road cycle track is of paramount importance.
One such route is the Alnmouth to Warkworth section of National Cycle Route 1.
This was always an excellent idea and I have ridden it many times but the surface did leave a lot to be desired and consequently many cyclists were observed to favour the A1068 road instead, despite its rather inhospitable environment for cycling.
It was a joy therefore to cycle the new smoothly resurfaced version last weekend.
Northumberland County Council are to be warmly congratulated on their improvements under the Local Transport Plan.
The route is deservedly popular with adults and children alike, providing a safe and sustainable travel link between the two villages for both locals and tourists.
The A1068, unfortunately, does not improve in its hospitality to cyclists as it continues towards Alnwick, so the plans which the Aln Valley Railway have to upgrade the present permissive cycle track alongside their railway should be thoroughly endorsed.
An all-weather track that could perhaps be extended off road into the centre of Alnwick would certainly enhance the connectivity of the town.
Commuters could use it to reach Alnmouth Station, local families could reach the National Cycle Route 1 in safety and cycling tourists would be far more likely to detour into Alnwick from the coast.
All of these cyclists would be leaving their cars at home, thus relieving pressure on car parking at all these critical points and get more exercise into the bargain.
Cycling is a great recreational activity, but wouldn’t it be fantastic if it could also be incorporated into our daily journeys? This could just be the opportunity for another ride along that track.