Bowes Railway Path Traffic-free Cycle Route

Bowes Railway Path Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

The Bowes line is an old railway, which like many others in north East England was built by George Stephenson. It originally ran to carry coal from collieries around Dipton in County Durham down to ships moored on the Tyne in Jarrow.

Most of it is now a walking and cycling route which runs from Sunniside in the west to Jarrow in the east. The eastern end of the route along Potter Street is approximately ¼ mile from Jarrow metro station.

In the middle of the route there is a short segment (approximately a third of a mile) that is on-road. The speed limit along there is 20mph. Despite being built on a disused railway, gradients along the route are as steep as 6%.

All the photos and information for this guide was provided by Real Gaz. Any errors are mine alone.

Surface on the Bowes Railway Path

West of Monkton village the surface is mostly self-compacting gravel and is ridable even on road bike tyres. East of Monkton village it’s tarmac park paths.

The section from Lamesley up to Eighton Banks which passes under the A1 is not recommended for road bikes. It is doable, but is quite rough in places.


Normal bikes can use the trail, but you’ll be better off on chunkier tyres, and in places road bikes will struggle. Trikes, and many cargo bikes will be stopped by the barriers.


There are plenty of pubs along the route for comfort breaks, and a coffee shop at Birkheads secret garden. The route passes close to village centres, and to Jarrow town centre.

See also  Crowd-sourcing traffic-free route guides


Safety: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Hilliness: ⭐⭐
Refreshment stops: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Barriers: ⭐
Surface: ⭐⭐

Overall: ⭐⭐⭐

The grading system I use is explained here.

Points of Interest

Some of the highlights near the trail include the oldest surviving single arch railway bridge in the world at Causey Arch. Two preserved railways are on the route, Tanfield railway and the Bowes railway. There are several works of public art along the route too.

Other Routes in Durham


There are some barriers on the western end of the route which are slowly being removed.

East of Eighton Banks there are a couple of A-frame barriers near the Bowes railway museum at Springwell.

West is more challenging and has some tight barriers further west.

Most of the route is well signed and easy to follow

Forecast for the Bowes Railway Path

What the Bowes Railway Path looks like

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More Routes

To find more routes, click this link.


DayCycle routes are routes can can easily be cycled by most people in a day, or part of a day. Do have a look at all the other DayCycle routes available on WillCycle. Many contain detailed route guides, as well as embedded maps (like the one below) from which you can download the GPX file for the route.

See also  Gravel !

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