The official map for the Sandstone Way, Northumberland’s new 120-mile mountain bike trail, is now available.
The MTB trail between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Hexham passes through numerous villages and small communities including Wooler, Belford, Rothbury, Elsdon and Bellingham, hugging the coastline before taking in the Simonside sandstone ridge and other features of Northumberland National Park.
The official map retails for £7.99, with a minimum of £2 from each sale going towards improving the Sandstone Way experience.
A Sandstone Way website goes live on 21st February (there’s a holding page online at the moment) and will include information on planning a ride, with information on local facilities and cycling-friendly accommodation along the way.
Rideable in one long day for the super-fit most riders will take three or four days to complete the route. The route is clearly waymarked with a green and yellow “S” roundel. Ten optional loops are also offered to appeal to day riders who wish to cycle back to their starting point or follow a more challenging option.
The Sandstone Way was developed by veteran trail creator Ted Liddle, who also worked on the C2C and the Reivers’ Way and many other long-distance cycle trails. It was seed-funded by Northumberland National Park Authority, 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 Sandstone Way was designed to link some of the best lengths of off-road track in Northumberland taking mountain bikers into Northumberland’s hidden corners on centuries-old tracks and historic byways. Cycling the Sandstone Way really is an adventure which guarantees a truly memorable experience for all the right reasons.”
Both Hexham and Berwick upon Tweed are served by rail, and there are bus connections along the Northumberland Coast AONB and into the valleys of the National Park for those wishing to make a holiday of it and leave the car behind.
The Sandstone Way uses existing Public Rights of Way for most of its length, including a mix of double-width dirt tracks, sections of single-track, unsurfaced lanes and bridleways of all types as well as byways and little known Unclassified County Roads (UCRs). There are also linking sections of quiet minor roads and surfaced country lanes.