Consett & Sunderland Railway Path Overall Rating: ⭐⭐
The Consett and Sunderland railway path, as the name suggests, is a former railway line which was the Stanhope and Tyne railway. It is also the route of NCN 7 which forms part of the long distance Coast 2 Coast route which runs from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Sunderland
It runs from the junction with NCN14 at Lydgetts junction to Roker seafront in Sunderland 26 miles to the east.
Consett is not on any rail link, but for the car free, the X70 and X71 buses, between Consett, Stanley, Gateshead and Newcastle take bicycles
Sunderland does have a railway station, and also a metro station for travel within Tyne and Wear (be aware that although bikes are allowed on the metro, they are not allowed on the underground section through Gateshead and Newcastle.
This rather excellent route guide was created by Gary Dawes. Any errors are mine alone.
The route is tarmacked for most of it’s route. The section through Greencroft near Annfield Plain is hardpack. The section from Stanley to Beamish is also hardpack which can be a bit mucky through the wood after rain.
The official route through east Washington is also hardpack and very rough in places. It is recommended however to leave the official route at Shepherd way in Washington and then use the shared path along Pattinson Way before picking the route again near WWT Washington. That section is also hardpack and can also be avoided by following Barmston lane to the footbridge over the A1231. Although it’s a road it is rarely used other than occasional farm traffic.
The next section between the footbridge and the Hylton viaduct is also hardpack. From there to Sunderland it is then tarmac all the way.
After you pass through the twin bridges in Sunderland under the A1290, take a right at a billboard and drop down to the riverside
The whole route can be ridden on most kinds of cycle. Trikes and most cargo bikes will struggle and are unlikely to get through.
There are plenty of places for comfort breaks and refreshments along the route. Directly adjacent to the route is a Tesco supermarket in Annfield Plain which has toilets. The Greenhouse business centre just south of Annfield Plain has a small and popular café which is open weekdays.
There is a small supermarket, chip shop and pub at Teal Farm in Washington which is on Pattinson way. Once in Sunderland the route passes Hylton riverside retail park, with Greggs, Costa etc. There is a coffee shop and toilets at the National Glass Centre right on the route too.
There are also cafes and toilets etc at the end of the route on Roker seafront.
Points of Interest
There is an abundance of public art along the route, from giant transformer robots, cows made from old JCBs to castings in the path surface along the riverside in Sunderland.
The route passes beside the Beamish open air museum. The museum has recreations of a colliery, an early 20th century town as well as a 1950s village and a farm. Visits need to be booked but it’s well worth half a day for a visit.
Just west of the Northern Spire bridge, a wrecked ship can be seen on the southern bank of the Wear. This is the Cretehawser, which was made out of concrete just after the end of WW1.
As you travel further along the riverside path you will pass beside some old lime kilns, and then the remains of the Wearside staithes which were for loading coal from the Wearmouth Colliery (now the site of the football stadium) onto ships.
Further east past the road and rail bridges, are the university of Sunderland and the National Glass centre.
Routes in Durham
- Reivers Route – UK Coast To Coast Routes
- C2C – UK Coast to Coast Routes
- Lanchester Valley Railway Path
- Deerness Valley Railway Path cycle route
- The Waskerley Way traffic-free cycle route
- Thorpe Thewles to Ryhope traffic-free cycle route
- Derwent Walk Cycleway
- Two Rivers Cycleway
- Consett & Sunderland Railway Path
- Bowes Railway Path Traffic-free Cycle Route
There are very few barriers along the route although there are a pair of chicane barriers in Washington, and a couple of A frames between Washington and Sunderland.
Refreshment stops: ⭐⭐
Forecast for the Consett & Sunderland Railway Path
What it looks like
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.