A new British coast-to-coast route is due to open on Saturday. The Way of the Roses runs for 170 miles from Morecombe to Bridlington through some spectacular countryside which includes the LuneValley, Forest of Bowland and Yorkshire Dales and Wolds.
Fully signed, it uses cycle tracks and roads to form a new, challenging ride which is the seventh coast-to-coast route on the National Cycle Network.
Highlights along the way include historic Lancaster, York and Ripon, and attractions such as Fountains Abbey. A southern strand between PateleyBridge and York via Harrogate and Knaresborough is planned to open in 2011.
A route map is available from the Sustrans shop priced £6.99. You can view the route online by searching Sustrans' mapping for Way of the Roses. A couple of websites seem to be in the throes of development: www.wayoftheroses.co.uk and www.wayoftheroses.info.
First English and Northern Ireland Connect2s open
Earlier this year, Sustrans opened the first section of the Bridgewater Way. The two-mile route between Sale and Stretford is part of a 39-mile leisure route being created along the historic BridgewaterCanal.
It’s also the first of the Sustrans Connect2 projects to be completed in England. This initiative aims to revitalise walking and cycling in 79 communities across the UK by creating new routes for everyday local journeys.
The first Connect2 to be completed was in Scotland in July 2008 – a restored viaduct near Dumfries. In Wales, a large section of the seven-mile scheme to connect Newport and Caerleon has been completed, and earlier this year the Port Talbot to Cwmafan project opened.
The first Connect2 in Northern Ireland was north of Belfast – a section of path for the Newtownabbey Way. To see how the other Connect2 schemes are progressing, see the Sustrans Connect2 website.
Around the UK
Shropshire: The first chunk of a nine-mile greenway between Bridgnorth and the Ironbridge Gorge has been opened.
Essex: A gap in National Cycle Network Route 1 has been plugged with the signing of a route bypassing Maldon on quiet roads with a spur into the town.
Fife: A 5.5-mile stretch of traffic-free cycling has been created between Low Valleyfield and Kincardine.
Argyll: Four miles of traffic-free path have been constructed between Appin and Dallens on the emerging Caledonia Way.
Surrey: Existing routes between Guildford, Woking and Chertsey have been signed as part of the National Cycle Network.
Hampshire: A section of railpath has been completed on the Hayling Billy Trail between Havant and Hayling Island, along with a further section of NCN 2 along Southsea Promenade.
Addition to French cycle route network
A recent addition to the developing French cycle route network is the Veloroute Ouest Creuse, an 83km route in Limousin to the north of Limoges linking Crozant and the border with Haute Vienne.
The route is signed and has a number of stops along the way equipped with bike racks, bins and benches, along with plenty of cyclist facilities in the town of La Souterraine. There are lots of interesting places along the way.
Recommended new route publications
Simon Warren, author of 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs (ISBN 9780711231207, £8.99), writes that “Britain doesn’t have the mountain ranges other countries can boast, but what it does have are plenty of little killer climbs…” Here are 100 of them, with a factfile and description for each one.
Kent & East Sussex Cycle Tours(ISBN 9781904207535, £12.99) is one of the first three books in a revamped, updated “Cycle Tours” series. It contains 15 road rides of between 26 and 36 miles through Kent and East Sussex, along with five off-road ones in the North and South Downs on Ordnance Survey Landranger 1:50,000 maps. Descriptions, height profiles and supporting information are provided for each ride. Others in the series are Surrey & West Sussex and Hampshire & the Isle of Wight, with more planned for later in the year.
Red Dog Books is a small publisher based in Brittany with books by “knowledgeable people who either live here or know Brittany very well”. Brittany’s Green Ways (ISBN 9780955708855, £11.50) by GH Randall should act as a complete source for anyone wanting a traffic-free cycling holiday in the region, with tons of maps and supporting information, including accommodation.
Traffic-Free Cycle Trails by Nick Cotton (ISBN 9781900623216, £14.99) contains more than 400 traffic-free cycling routes in its revised and updated third edition. Description, directions and supporting information are provided, along with some nice photographs. This is the perfect book for finding that safe and peaceful bike ride.
Cycling in the North of England by Rupert Douglas with John Grimshaw (ISBN 9780749561734, £9.99) details 28 routes, mostly on the National Cycle Network. Route details and supporting information are provided, with the route laid out on familiar Sustrans-style maps. This book is one in a new series based mainly on the NCN also including the South West, South East and East of England, London, the Midlands, Wales and Scotland.
All of these titles are available from www.cordee.co.uk or www.sustransshop.co.uk except Brittany’s Green Ways which can be ordered from www.reddogbooks.com.