Northumberland’s latest attraction, a new mountain-bike route from Berwick to Hexham, will be officially unveiled this week.
The 120-mile Sandstone Way, which is the brainchild of passionate cyclist Ted Liddle, has already been praised by endurance mountain biker Richard Rothwell, who completed it in under 11 hours as part of his training for the Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup.
The route passes through the picturesque market towns of Wooler, Rothbury, Bellingham and a number of smaller villages and rural hamlets. The waymarked route traverses an ever-changing landscape, rich in history, geology and iconic scenery, including Hadrian’s Wall and Northumberland National Park.
The launch at Hexham on Friday will be attended by local schoolchildren as part of a Bike4Health scheme, which will see about 80 children cycle stages of the route in 2015 and is part of an initiative to make the route as much of a focus for locals of all ages and abilities, as visitors from outside of the county.
Cycling is thriving business in the UK. VisitEngland suggests the cycling market is growing by 10 to 15 per cent per annum and will be a major travel trend this year, worth a projected £3billion to the national economy.
North East cycling holiday company Saddle Skedaddle was the first company to pick up the Sandstone Way as a holiday route and Tomlinson’s bunkhouse in Rothbury has already had more than 30 bookings linked to the route.
Jude Leitch, general manager of Northumberland Tourism, said: “The Sandstone Way is a welcome addition to an already exciting selection of cycling routes in Northumberland. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the areas along the route and fully expect our local economy to benefit as a result.’
The Sandstone Way is organised by a partnership between the public and private sectors, managed by a steering group including representatives of the groups involved in the project’s inception and was seed-funded by Northumberland National Park Authority (who managed the project), Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Project, Northumberland County Council, Tyne Valley Mountain Bike Club and the Rural Development Programme for England through the Northern Lands Project. The Cycle PaD (a social enterprise who manage its website) has supported the project from the outset.
For more information, visit www.sandstoneway.co.uk or follow developments on social media: Facebook – www.facebook.com/SandstoneWay or Twitter – @SandstoneWay. Join in the conversation on Twitter using #CycleNorthumberland.
The Sandstone Way is a welcome addition to an already exciting selection of cycling routes in Northumberland.Jude Leitch, general manager of Northumberland Tourism