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Sandstone Way - MTB

Sandstone Way - MTB

A self-guided mountain bike holiday through Northumberland from Berwick to Hexham.

3 to 5 nights
120 miles
Moderate to Strenuous

From £375 per person

Discover the available tours

About this route

As the least-populated county in the UK, Northumberland offers a virtually unrivalled range of remote off-road trails: the perfect setting for a ride in the wilderness. Twining together the longest off-road stretches available along broad tracks, sweeping singletrack, and unsurfaced byways, the Sandstone Way is a brilliant ride for mountainbikers of all skill levels.

From Berwick-upon-Tweed, a spectacular coastal section leads the way on double-width dirt tracks and swings inland toward a brilliant downhill charge into Wooler. Excellent views line the ride onward to Rothbury through Breamish Valley, full of challenging singletrack, and over open moorland before the route plunges into the forest on its way to Bellingham. Crossing Hadrian's Wall, the final stage guides the way into Hexham.

It’s frequently said that riders underestimate the Sandstone Way. On paper, it’s not technical, so what challenges can it pose? But this sinuous route’s big climbs and huge, open spaces are sure to test you, and make that final run into Hexham so much more hard-won.

Standard
Interactive
© Contours Walking Holidays Sandstone Way - MTB map
Berwick / Hexham
120 miles (192 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Taking in Northumberland's unspoilt solitude and staggering views along several sections of the route, including the ride along the coastline out of Berwick.

Racing down through Harwood Forest along wooded trails.

Enjoying the views from Warden Hill, before taking off on swooping grass tracks toward South Tyne.

Available tours

CodeTourDurationDifficultyPrice per person
C-SW-MB2 From Berwick-upon-Tweed to Hexham 3 nights, 3 days riding Strenuous£375
C-SW-MB3 From Berwick-upon-Tweed to Hexham 4 nights, 4 days riding Demanding£470
C-SW-MB4 From Berwick-upon-Tweed to Hexham 5 nights, 5 days riding Moderate£565

Sandstone Way 3 nights, 3 days riding

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Elevation & terrain
  • Travel info
  • Weather
Start

Travel to Berwick-upon-Tweed where your first night's accommodation has been booked

Day 1

Berwick-upon-Tweed to Wooler. 34 miles (54.5km) / 1818 ft (554 m) ascent

Day 2

Wooler to Rothbury. 37 miles (59km) / 3084 ft (940 m) ascent

Finish

Rothbury to Hexham. 49 miles (78.5km) / 3435 ft (1047 m) ascentDepart from Hexham after completing the tour, or add an extra night in Hexham during the booking process for an extra charge

Your Itinerary

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than 2.5 miles from the trail to your accommodation.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

Solo Traveller Supplement
£40.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£35.00 per person / per night


You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£60.00 per person / per night

What's included?

  • 3 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

The county of Northumberland - while the least-populated in the UK - is still home to plenty of wonderful settlements, many of which lie along the Sandstone Way route. For those in need of a recovery day or more time to explore during their cycling holiday, you can choose to book as many extra nights as you wish in any of the locations visited along the route. Below are our picks for great locations in which to enjoy a few extra days.

Berwick-upon-Tweed is a great choice for an extra night's stay or two, and the perfect place in which to prepare before embarking on your Sandstone Way holiday. This town is packed full of places to eat, drink and shop, as well as a variety of activities including guided tours, adventure sports and a selection of fascinating art galleries and museums. Local historic sites of interest include the Union Chain Bridge, the Berwick-upon-Tweed Barracks and Elizabethan Town Walls, the 18th century Paxton House and two beautiful churches dating back to the 1600s.

Alternatively, the attractive stone-built town of Wooler is a good choice for a rest day, especially for those wanting to explore the local area either on foot or by bike. Known as the Gateway to Glendale, the Cheviot Hills and the Northumberland National Park, the town is an ideal base from which to explore the nearby coast - with views of Bamburgh Castle and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne - as well as Chillingham Castle, the Flodden Battlefield and many other incredible landmarks. Wooler itself is home to a thriving Cycle Hub, which provides a range of services and is well-stocked with everything you need in order to replenish your cycling kit, ready for the next leg of your holiday.

The traditional market town of Rothbury is also worth an extra night's stay if you need a rest from cycling. Hailed as the 'Capital of Coquetdale', this well-stocked tourist destination is nestled in the beautiful Coquet Valley with the Coquet River flowing straight through it, offering wonderful scenery and a peaceful atmosphere all year round. Those keen to learn about the area's history can follow the Heritage Trail through the town, taking in a variety of landmarks along the way. Rothbury is also within easy reach of the Simonside Hills, the Cheviot Hills and the Northumberland National Park, should you wish to explore the wonderful surrounding countryside.

Hexham marks the end of the Sandstone Way route, so why not extend your holiday and celebrate the achievement of completing the journey by booking an extra night or two in this fantastic market town? Hexham town centre has everything you need for a relaxing stay, including a selection of specialist shops and tempting eateries, and boasts many spectacular monuments such as Hexham Abbey, the Queen's Hall Art Centre and the Old Gaol, leaving you spoilt for choice for things to see and do. The town is also just a short trek from Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads Roman Fort, should you be interested in exploring these iconic British landmarks.

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£60.00 per person / per night

Tour Facts

Total distance: 120 miles (192 km)
Duration: 3 nights, 2 days riding
Minimum daily distance: 34 miles (54.5 km)
Maximum daily distance: 49 miles (78.5 km)
Code: C-SW-MB2 Grade: Strenuous
Season: 2nd January - 24th December
Start of holiday: Berwick-upon-Tweed
End of holiday: Hexham

Elevation & Terrain

Route profile

Sandstone Way Route Profile

Sandstone Way begins with a long, flat ride all the way along the Northumberland coastline. The first real slopes set in as the route heads inland toward St Cuthbert’s Cave. A long descent streaks down from Old Lyham, with even steeper downhill runs into Wooler and out of Roseden.

hard climb up Wether Hill marks the most challenging ascent on the route, but it leads to a good descent on the far side. The Sandstone Way reaches its highest point just beyond Simonside via a staggered series of ascents. There’s another long climb after East Woodburn, with an enjoyable descent through Rawfoot to Bellingham. Walwick Fell and Warden Hill mark the last two major climbs before the Sandstone Way’s finale into Hexham, with plenty of little ridges to make sure the ride’s completion is hard-won.

Terrain

  • Broad dirt tracks
  • Technical singletrack
  • Unsurfaced lanes and bridleways
  • Byways and low-traffic country roads

The Sandstone Way boasts broad dirt trails through the remote open spaces of Northumberland. Short stints on low-traffic country lanes knit together long, off-road rides on unsurfaced bridleways and unclassified roads.

The route explores Breamish Valley on forest trails and crosses open moorland. It’s here that you’ll find the best singletrack on the Sandstone Way.

In dry conditions, a strong rider could complete the Sandstone Way on a hybrid bicycle with suitable tyres, but a dedicated mountain bike is recommended.

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air – The most convenient major cities and international airports are Newcastle and Edinburgh.

By Rail – There is a railway station at the start of the route (Berwick-upon-Tweed) and at the end of the route (Hexham).

From London – There are fast and frequent trains from London King's Cross to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Return to the Start – The easiest way to return to the start of the route is by taking the train from Hexham to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Please note:

Most train lines will allow for bikes to be taken on board. We advise that you check on https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ as you may need to book a space for your bike or there may be a limit as to how many bikes the train can store.

Most buses in the UK are unable to store bikes on board, so we would recommend avoiding this form of transport.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.

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