Sea to Sea Cycle Route
Cycling West Cumbria’s Solway coast and then on to the North Sea. The UK’s most popular ‘challenge’ cycle route passes through the northern Lake District before climbing the Pennines, ‘the roof of England’, and then descending to the railway paths of County Durham. It includes Black Hill, the highest point on the National Cycle Network (609m) and the Consett-Sunderland railway path and sculpture trail.
At 140 miles (230 km) long, the route is designed for the whole range of cyclists, from families to cycling club riders. Off-road sections have an alternative surfaced track. Although a challenge with some hard climbs the C2C has an average of between 12,000 and 15,000 cyclists completing the route every year.
The Flagship of Sustrans Long Distance Routes
The Sea to Sea Cycle Route is the flagship of Sustrans long distance routes, having won a global award in 1996. It is a wonderful route through the Northern Lake District and over the Pennines, beginning on the Cumbria coast at Whitehaven or Workington on the Irish Sea, and finishing in Sunderland or Tynemouth on the North Sea.
Whitehaven is the starting point of the popular 140 mile long C2C cycle route, which travels along the Whitehaven to Ennerdale Cycle path, past Cleator Moor and Rowrah, then through Loweswater, Lorton, Whinlatter Pass to Keswick. An alternative start is from Workington along another old railway cycle path to Cockermouth, and onwards to Keswick.
From Keswick the route goes past Castlerigg Stone Circle (or alternatively along the Keswick Railway Footpath) to Greystoke, Penrith, Langwathby and Little Salkeld, where you can visit Little Salkeld Mill and Long Meg Stone Circle. From here there is a long climb over Hartside Pass, through Garrigill to Nenthead, then through the remote North Pennines to Consett. Here the route divides to reach the North East coast at Sunderland or Tynemouth.
There is a link route from Carlisle to Penrith, connecting the Glasgow to Carlisle cycle route. This passes along minor roads from Carlisle, past Dalston and Rose Castle towards Little Blencow, where it joins the C2C route.
The route is covered by the National Cycle Network map no.7, and this map is essential for the ride as the route makes use of regular roads, bridleways, old railways etc and, as such, is not a single waymarked cycle track.
Browse Other Cycling Routes-
New! Opened in October 2013.
A dedicated cycle way of 3.5 miles was added to the 174-mile Hadrian’s Cycle way, stretching from Ravenglass to South Shields. Passing through some of the world’s best Roman heritage country and taking you along the Solway coast (adjacent to the B5300) an AONB.
You can easily join this route with your bike from Ellen Hall, by cycling to Mile Fortlet 21 (between Maryport and Allonby), via Hayton or Allerby. We’ll be happy to lend you a map.
We have cycles for hire and secure storage, should you wish to bring your own.