Spectacular traffic-free riding through the North – Three Rivers

Spectacular traffic-free riding through the North – Three Rivers

Bike Touring Collection by Amy



14:43 h

135 mi

4,275 ft

Industrial heritage backdropped by the North Sea, vibrant coastal towns with historic piers and holiday vibe a-plenty, winding green valleys with colourful meadows and magnificent country estates – the Three Rivers cycle route takes you on a varied adventure through the North of England.

This Collection maps out a loop around the North East coast of England, showcasing the area’s vibrant cities, history and landscapes. You’ll ride 135 miles (218 km) across five stages that are between 15.8 miles (25.5 km) and 34.7 miles (56 km) long.

The route takes you to fantastic cities and towns in the North. Along the way, you'll visit the UNESCO World Heritage cathedral and castle in Durham, explore the rich industry of Sunderland, marvel at the bridges spanning the Tyne in Newcastle upon Tyne, and wander along the historic marina in Hartlepool.

Aside from exploring this wonderful region, the real joy of this route is that it follows traffic-free ways the majority of the time. This, combined with the fact that you don’t climb more than 1,115 feet (340 m) in one stage, makes it the perfect option for first-time tourers, families, and those warming up their legs after a winter slumber.

On this adventure, you’ll follow the Lanchester Valley Way former railway line through what was the industrial heartland of county Durham, ride along river bends as you trace the Derwent Walk through green nature, and discover interesting sculptures along the Wansbeck Estuary Art Trail. As these ways are shared with walkers and horse riders, make sure you stick to a sensible speed.

You should bear in mind that many of these ways are not paved, so come prepared for some gravel and mud. A solid touring bike, hybrid, cyclo-cross or gravel bike would be a good option. Although it’s sometimes hard to find consecutive sunny days, the paths are much more pleasant to ride after a spell of dry weather.

You can also easily ride the routes as individual day rides, especially if you live in the area. Every stage begins or ends in a city with a train station, with the exception of Consett (stages 2 and 3). If you’re riding the Three Rivers in one go, you’ll also easily find accommodation and food in all end stages.

The route is named after three of the major rivers in the area – the Tyne, Tees, and Wear. These rivers have a far-reaching industrial and maritime history which is still visible today. However, rivers are not the only water you’ll meet along the way. Stages 4 and 5 take you from the rivers’ mouths to the sea, where you can enjoy plenty of golden sandy beaches, historic lighthouses and ice cream shops.

You can reach Middlesbrough, where this Collection begins, by train, although you can start the circular wherever is most convenient for you. From here, you choose which direction of the loop to follow. Either way, you’re sure to have a great few days exploring the North.

On The Map


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Three Rivers

129 mi

3,850 ft

3,850 ft

Last updated: December 22, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    34.8 mi
    9.5 mph
    1,125 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage 1 takes you through lovely corners of the North East, covering 34.7 miles (56 km) from Middlesbrough to Durham. As with every ride in this Collection, you follow cycle paths and traffic-free trails almost the whole way.


    You'll start off on the flat, following a path along the River Tees and crossing

    by Amy

  • Intermediate
    15.9 mi
    7.4 mph
    950 ft
    400 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    At 15.8 miles (25.5 km), stage 2 is the shortest section of this Collection, giving you plenty of time to explore Durham before setting off.


    Today is defined by the Lanchester Valley Path which you’ll follow for almost the entire day as you ride to Consett. If you want to push your legs a bit harder

    by Amy

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  • Easy
    19.0 mi
    9.6 mph
    475 ft
    1,275 ft
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    If riding along a cycle path through a luscious valley, listening to birds singing and watching ducks bobbing along in the river sounds like your cup of tea, then you’ll love stage 3.


    Today, you’ll cover 19 miles (30.6 km) from Consett to Newcastle Upon Tyne, following a traffic-free path almost the

    by Amy

  • Intermediate
    31.0 mi
    9.5 mph
    1,025 ft
    950 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Stage 4 takes you to the sea for the first time on your journey as you ride 30.9 miles (49.8 km) from Newcastle to Seaham. Expect salty sea air, candy-coloured sunsets, iconic piers, and ice cream stops-a-plenty on today’s ride. Once again, you’ll be cycling on traffic-free ways for the majority of the

    by Amy

  • Intermediate
    34.5 mi
    9.5 mph
    700 ft
    750 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Your final day adventure is filled with coastal scenes as you ride the last 34.4 miles (55.5 km) from Seaham back to the start in Middlesbrough.


    From Seaham, climb inland along the Hart to Haswell Walkway. The trail will take you through peaceful countryside scenes and into Shotton Colliery that you

    by Amy

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Questions and Comments


Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    135 mi
  • Duration
    14:43 h
  • Elevation
    4,275 ft

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Spectacular traffic-free riding through the North – Three Rivers

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