Can you conquer the Mighty Pennines?

If you’re looking for exhilarating scenery for your next cycle or hike, the North of England is the perfect spot. The North Pennines can be…



If you’re looking for exhilarating scenery for your next cycle or hike, the North of England is the perfect spot. The North Pennines can be the greatest escape for anyone looking to remove themselves from city life and focus on their own wellbeing. The Pennines gained the title Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1988 as it is one of the greatest landscapes in the UK, so if you haven’t been already-you’re really missing out.

The greatness of the Pennines

Your experience hiking or cycling the Pennines will be amazing from the beginning up until the end. With the stunning views that this heritage site provides, you will constantly be pushing yourself to find the most magnificent spot- although this could prove to be difficult as the entire area is breathtaking.

People like a challenge and that is something that the Pennines continues to offer visitors from all over the country. The North Pennines has heather moors, peatlands, dales, meadows, upland rivers and woodland areas, meaning you have plenty to explore when you get there.

With the help of Leisure Lakes Bikes, we’re going to plan your entire itinerary. So, grab your road bikes or hiking boots and make your way to this stunning part of the country to create everlasting memories…

The starting place

If you’re looking for the best route for cycling in the North Pennines, you must consider the Wear & Rockhope Valleys- you’ll see a great landscape from this point. From the Burnhope Reservoir to Lintzgarth Arch, the beautiful scenes will encourage you to keep pedalling and complete this trail.


Photo © David Brown (cc-by-sa/2.0)

When there, begin from the Durham Dales Centre in Stanhope and if you’re planning to stay overnight- there are some hotels close by. The Durham Dales Centre is home to a gift shop, craft shop and tea room, giving you the opportunity to have a warm drink before you set off on your journey.

The beginning of your challenge

After you’ve left the Durham Dales Centre, you need to follow the A689 towards Stanhope’s Town Hall — and although there are plenty of restaurants, resist it and continue on your way!

Follow this road and you will see a bridge that you need to cross. Proceed in the direction you’re currently going in, before taking your third right and following the road upwards. You will pass Greenfoot Hotel and Greenhead Farm before eventually reaching Rookhope. If you need to have a break in Rookhope, The Rookhope Inn would be the ideal place to stop. It has outdoor seating so you can grab a drink and freshen yourself up.

After passing St John’s Church, you will reach the town centre. Here, take your second left, following the main road channelling the Rookhope Burn river where you will come to Allenheads. Once you’ve reached Allenheads, a stopping off point would be the Allenheads Inn as it a popular destination for cyclists and hikers alike.


Photo © Mike Quinn (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Take a right when you reach Allenheads and stay on the B6295 road which will lead you to Cowshill. In Cowshill, the only place you will be able to stop at will be the Cowshill Hotel. Fortunately, they are more than welcoming to cyclists who are stopping by for a well-deserved break. After this visit, follow the road downwards where you will come to the A689 road- remain on this road and continue to Ireshopeburn.

You will pass St John’s Chapel and Daddry Shield, continue cycling on Pleasant Road and make sure you do not head onto any route. This area is full of different cafes and pubs, including Chatterbox Café, The Golden Lion and The Blue Bell Inn. You will then reach Brotherlee, where you need to remain on the road that you’re currently on and eventually you will pass Horsley Hall – a country hotel. Continue following this road and you will reach a bridge crossing the River Wear. Take the right onto the B6278 here and you will be back in Stanhope!

You’ve made it this far, but it’s time to take a right and head back to the Durham Dales Centre.

The time it will take

The route entirely calculates to around 24.36 miles in total. If you’re completing this at a speed of 10mph, you should complete this in 2 hours, 26 minutes. For those who are a bit quicker, at 13mph you will reach the finish line in 1 hour, 52 minutes.

If you’re cycling at 19mph, the route can be completed in 1 hour and 16 minutes. If you’re going 22mph, however, you will complete this cycle route in just 1 hour and 6 minutes.

The biggest challenge

There are plenty of hills on this route, and when the weather conditions aren’t the best- this can prove to be even harder. Fortunately, we’ve listed these in advance so that you know what you’re in for:
• The Brandon Walls and Hill Top has a height of 1570ft and will take 2 miles to complete.
• Rookhope Head has a height of 1745ft and will only take 0.75 miles.
• Burtree Fell has a height of 1836ft and will take up 1.8 miles of your journey.


Post shared in collaboration with Leisure Lakes Bikes.

Have you ever visited the North Pennines?

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