A flat out and return along National Cycle Route 1, starting from Castle Eden and going North to Ryhope, then returning via the same route. This is a companion ride to Castle Eden Walkway : https://www.visorando.co.uk/walk-castle-... although not as scenic.
From the A19 or A181, drive into Castle Eden and follow the road curving right past the war memorial and down until you see the Castle Eden Inn on your left. Park on the roadside near the inn (do not use their car park which is for patrons only) or in the village hall car park which is opposite the inn. (the village hall is the second smaller building, the taller building is the Masonic Lodge, please do not park at the Masonic Lodge.)
Note on this route when I describe passing a gate this is usually a large gate with a smaller gap for cycles. In most cases, these can be passed at a slow speed but if you have wide handlebars you might have to stop and go through the gap at an angle.
(D/A) From the road cycle past the Inn car park, turning left into the small housing estate. Just as you have come around the rear of the car park you will see a path on your left which is bounded on one side by a wall and on the other by a fence. Take the narrow path and arrive on the disused railway line which is now a bridleway and part of the cycle network.
(1) Turn left and follow the track along the old railway, pass immediately beneath one bridge and shortly after under the A19. After this, pass a farm on the left with a livery for horses then navigate through two gates. Continue to pass under another bridge and then ascend a ramp up to the B1281.
(2) Cross the B1281 and on the far side take the ramp down to join the path leading behind the equestrian center. This turns right to rejoin the course of the old railway. Continue NW, through a plantation of trees and then beside the industrial estate at Shotton. The path will rise to cross a road in Shotton Colliery.
(3) Cross the road and descent. (This section passes through a railway cutting and under two bridges; unfortunately, the route suffers from broken glass where bottles have been dropped from the bridges so take care in order to avoid a puncture.) Continue and pass beneath the two bridges, after the second you will cross some wooden boards with a pond on the right. (Pesspool Wood). After the boards, the path splits.
(4) Take the right hand branch and continue with an old, yellow scarred, hill and quarry on the right, descend to cross a minor road.
(5) Cross the minor road (Pesspool Lane) and continue north, the track will narrow and pass between shrubs then it will descend to the A182 at South Hetton.
(6) Turn left onto the A182 and ride into South Hetton, look out for some low brick-build factory units on the right and the church on the left.
(7) Turn right at the end of the units and just before the church onto the track. It is marked with a blue signpost. Continue north.
(8) Cross the B1285 at the west end of Murton, then keep following the track, passing through another set of gates beside a housing estate on the right.
(9) Pass through a further set of gates and cross the minor road (Seaton Bank Top) then continue to the west end of Seaton.
(10) Pass through gates and cross the B1404, then continue to quickly cross a bridge over the A19. The track continues to a second bridge. (Look out for the tall chimney of Ryhope Pumping Station on your left)
(11) Cross the second bridge (which is split by a barrier running down the center) and then go past yellow painted boulders to reach a road.
(12) Cross the A1018 and turn immediately right and then left to pass between another set of boulders and take the track that runs beside the housing estate. This will lead you to...
(13) ... the old iron footbridge and the end of the track at Ryhope.
Return on the same track. Note when returning after passing (12) and the yellow boulders lookout for the bridge with the barrier. There is another track on the left and it is easy to drop down this.
D/A : km 0 - alt. 117m - Inn car park
1 : km 0.14 - alt. 115m - Track along the old railway
2 : km 2.39 - alt. 125m - B1281
3 : km 4.9 - alt. 135m - Bridge Road
4 : km 7.24 - alt. 141m - Right hand branch
5 : km 8.25 - alt. 131m - Pesspool Lane
6 : km 9.76 - alt. 118m - Front Street
7 : km 10.4 - alt. 132m - Track
8 : km 12.18 - alt. 126m - Station Road
9 : km 14.69 - alt. 119m - Set of gates
10 : km 15.51 - alt. 101m - Seaton Lane
11 : km 17.66 - alt. 49m - Stockton Road
12 : km 17.97 - alt. 48m - St Nazaire Way
13 : km 18.88 - alt. 35m - Old iron footbridge
D/A : km 37.73 - alt. 117m - Inn car park
There are no places to stop for refreshments, take everything with you.
The route is not as well maintained as the route south to Thorpe Thewles, in places it is loose and stoney. However; It is part of the national cycle network. Be aware that in winter and after prolonged rain parts of the track will be muddy, particularly through the plantation, and either side of Pesspool Woods. Remember to look out for glass and debris in the cutting at Shotton Colliery.
This route is possible on a mountain bike, 29nr, gravel bike or hybrid bike. I would not consider taking a road bike along this section.
Note, this is a bridleway and you may see other people on bikes, people walking their dogs or some on horseback.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
An flat out and return along the Castle Eden Walkway, starting from Castle Eden and going South to the old railway station at Thorpe Thewles, then returning via the same route. This follows the national cycle way route 1 and in most parts is easy to follow.
Usually done on a bicycle but can be walked. Interesting scenery and also alternative diversions if on foot.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.