- Dramatic hills and remote valleys of Northumberland National Park
- Biking through the least populated county in England
- Trying out a selection of fun, flowing singletrack
- Exploring remote bridleways and little known rights of way
- Pease pudding and stotties in a local country pub
- Rolling by wide open countryside with sweeping views and numerous sandstone crags
This was our first self-guided mountain bike holiday and we will be back for more! Would recommend this ride to anyone who likes to ride out in the wild.
Newcastle is our chosen rendezvous point for the Sandstone Way ride. With its excellent road, rail and air connections, getting to Newcastle is easy. For those arriving by car, you will be able to leave your vehicle at your accommodation in Newcastle.
Depending on timing, you’ll be met by you Skedaddle representative who will provide your route information and answer any questions about the next few days of riding. If more convenient, this meeting may happen over breakfast the following day.
A meal tonight can be taken at one of the many friendly restaurants on the nearby quayside. With the Millennium Bridge lit up at night, it makes a great backdrop to this bustling part of Newcastle.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 590 Metres Approx.
After breakfast we transfer you up the coast to historic Berwick-upon-Tweed (1.5hr), where we will unload your bikes and set off on our journey. Our first stage takes you down the dramatic Northumberland coast with incredible views over Lindisfarne before turning inland and starting your exploration of the countryside and moors of Northumberland. Farm tracks and forest roads take you past St Cuthbert’s Cave. Lunch can be remote picnic or taken in a pub en-route as you pass through several quaint villages and below Chillingham Castle before arriving into Wooler for a pint of real ale and an evening of local hospitality.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 900 Metres Approx.
Our second day of riding takes us deep into the wilderness of Northumberland. Heading south over open moorland trails we pass through the idyllic Breamish valley before tackling the cheeky climb over Wether Hill (and the well-earned descent that follows). We pass by the remote hamlets of Clennell, Alwinton and Harbottle before looping back east. A section of woodland singletrack keeps us on our toes as we descend down to the beautiful town of Rothbury, our overnight stay.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 600 Metres Approx.
After a wholesome breakfast you tackle the climb past the Simonside hills, the largest climb en-route, leading you into Harwood Forest and past the spooky Winter’s Gibbet. You’ll tackle some tricky farm tracks and a traverse alongside the River Rede to the village of West Woodburn.
Depending on conditions you’ll climb over Highstead Hill or take the lower road leading into Bellingham and your final night.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: 480 Metres Approx.
Your final day of cycling takes you through border country, across challenging bridleways and twisting trails. You’ll skirt past the woodland of Kielder Forest Park and Northumberland National Park. You negotiate a network of bridleways and stream crossings, with a few more cheeky climbs to tackle before arriving in the tiny village green in Simonburn, an ideal lunch spot.
Eventually you pass over the line of Hadrian’s Wall and enjoy a final descent down to the historic market town of Hexham to celebrate our accomplishment. You’ll have a short transfer back to Newcastle to collect your cars or depart for your return train.
The Sandstone Way uses varied terrain along its whole length taking best advantage of an interesting mix of double-width dirt tracks, sections of singletrack, unsurfaced lanes and bridleways of all types as well as byways and little known unclassified country roads (UCRs).
The terrain can be rough and there are occasional steep and technical sections. Inevitably, there are a number linking sections of quiet minor roads and surfaced country lanes.
Northumberland is a hilly county and significant climbs will be encountered every day of the trip. A good level of fitness is key to your enjoyment of the route.
Mountain Biking Grade
Distances of 25-50 miles / 40-80 kms per day
Aimed at regular cyclists who have a degree of off road experience
Some moderate and difficult technical sections
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
If you have some experience of off road riding on a variety of terrain, and would like to do more, a grade 3 trip could be for you. These holidays give you elements of our higher grade trips but at a manageable level with sections of singletrack (narrow trails wide enough for one rider) and shorter steep sections (both up and down) which require more bike handling ability. A day’s ride can see you on the trails for around 8 hours (with breaks) and covering between 25-50 miles depending on the terrain. If you’re generally fit and manage to ride regularly this could be the level for you.
Dates & Prices
Daily departures available from 10 Apr to 15 Oct. The season prices below are per person and are applicable for all start dates between and inclusive of the stated dates.
Season 1 10 Apr – 29 Sep: £745
Season 2 30 Sep – 15 Oct: £785
A) Accommodation (shared twin rooms)
B) Meals as per itinerary – B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
C) Route information including route map, GPX files and a GPS device if required
D) Skedaddle App to access holiday information & navigation
E) Luggage transfer service
F) Skedaddle Local Representative
What's not Included
A) Bike hire (available if required)
B) Train tickets and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)
C) Meals not stated in the itinerary
D) Single room (available if required)
E) Travel insurance
F) Personal clothing and equipment
G) Personal expenditure (bar bills, hotel facilities etc.)
I) Transfers other than on scheduled arrival / departure days
8 reasons to cycle Northumberland
Here's why we think this often-underrated destination is perfect for those seeking a holiday at the speed of the bike...
Sandstone Way: the video
Get inspired by our remote and scenic trip in Northumberland.
12 hours in...Newcastle
Stopping off in Newcastle pre/post trip? Don't miss our ultimate guide to the city.
Simon, OxfordshireWe will be back for more!
This was our first self-guided mountain bike holiday and we will be back for more. The Sandstone Way is a mix of quiet roads and tracks with the odd bit of singletrack. It’s a great way to get out into the wilds of Northumberland from the North Sea coast to the Cheviot Hills. Skedaddle organised everything very well, meaning we could concentrate on the riding. When things went wrong and a rear mech hanger snapped, they organised a mechanic to get us back underway. Would recommend this ride to anyone who likes to ride out in the wild!
Giselle, EssexHaving never visited this side of the country we loved it...
Amazing route, scenery and weather! Loved all the different terrains and the climbs were awesome. Few bull encounters and a herd of cows tried to beat us through a gate which was exciting! Having never visited this side of the country we loved it. Couldn’t believe the amazing beaches, friendly people and the fantastic cycling.