Cycling UK has launched a new, off-road trail for cyclists and walkers stretching 800 miles that links the Peak District with the extreme north of mainland Scotland.
It says that the Great North Trail has been created in response to demand from cyclists for greater access to traffic-free routes in the countryside.
According to the charity, 98 per cent of the route runs on traffic-free routes such as bridleways, byways, cycle routes, unpaved roads and very low traffic minor roads.
It makes use of existing routes such as the Pennine Bridleway and Cross Borders Drove Road, while also linking them.
Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore, said: “We know that around a quarter of people who use the National Trails do so on bikes, yet only two of the 15 National Trails in England and Wales are fully open for cycling.
“We’ve created the Great North Trail because we recognised very little has been done to promote national off-road trails. For example, plans to extend the Pennine Bridleway to Scotland were published 20 years ago, but still haven’t been implemented.
“And yet we know there is an appetite for more cycling access to the countryside. Off-road trails can be ideal for families to ride safely, away from traffic and city pollution,” he added.
The route, created as part of Cycling UK’s ambition to link long-distance routes throughout the UK and open up more of the countryside to cyclists, passes through areas including the Yorkshire Dales, Kielder Forest, Corrieairack Pass, Loch Ness and Cape Wrath.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.