The Sandstone Way

The Sandstone Way

The Sandstone Way is a new 120 mile / 193 km mountain bike route in Northumberland between Berwick upon Tweed and Hexham along a sandstone ridge in North Northumberland and linking numerous sandstone features, crags and outcrops. It heads into the unexplored interior of Northumberland and the National Park, before finishing in style on the banks of the River Tyne at Hexham.

The Sandstone Way: a new route for mountain bikers


The Sandstone Way is a new 120 mile / 193 km (approx) mountain biking route between Berwick upon Tweed and Hexham in Northumberland. It links, and is named after, the numerous sandstone features, crags and outcrops which are characteristic of the region. The route traverses through an amazing ever-changing landscape which is rich in history, geological features and iconic scenery.

The Sandstone Way starts and ends at two Northumberland towns namely Berwick upon Tweed and Hexham both of which are served by rail. In between these two towns, the Sandstone Way links numerous villages and small communities including Wooler, Rothbury and Bellingham; though slightly off route, Belford is a further option. A range of en route accommodation is available.

The Sandstone Way has been designed for use by mountain bikers as much of the route is off-road.  It safely crosses a constant flow of rivers, four main roads and two railway lines.

The Sandstone Way will appeal to all abilities from families and less experienced mountain bikers, those at intermediate standard and even fit competent mountain bikers. The first group are likely to take 3 or 4 days to complete it whilst the ‘fit and the fast’ could possibly ride the route in 2 days but in all probability most would wish they had taken 3 days. It’s almost certain some fit mountain bikers will try to do the whole route in a day but very few will manage especially if they ride the optional harder sections.   

The Sandstone Way uses varied terrain along its whole length with the preferred alignment taking best advantage of an interesting mix of double-width dirt tracks, sections of singletrack, unsurfaced lanes and bridleways of all types as well as byways and little known Unclassified County Roads (UCRs). Inevitably, there are numerous linking sections of quiet minor roads and surfaced country lanes. All the above are existing rights of way. The essence of the route’s quality is how all these elements combine and of course the route will be improved as time passes.

The core route is clearly waymarked but where possible, more challenging variations will be indicated. Ten optional loops are also offered which mean the linear route will also be able to provide entertainment to ‘day ride’ mountain bikers who wish to cycle back to their starting point. Though not waymarked, these more demanding variations add value and interest to the route.

The Sandstone Way first edition route map is available on this website and at and various retail outlets, with a minimum of £2 per sale going back into the project. The route is also available for GPS users as a gpx file to download via the Sandstone Way website.

A ‘payback’ scheme operates to ensure the route is managed in the future and offers of sponsorship for the map and website will be welcomed. The Sandstone Way has to be self-sustainable and is therefore a not-for profit project.To make a donation towards the upkeep of The Sandstone Way click here

In summary, The Sandstone Way really is an enjoyable journey down (or up) just about the whole length of Northumberland which is one of England’s best kept secrets. Apart from its undoubted merit as a thoroughly enjoyable mountain bike experience, the Sandstone Way has a fascinating cultural, historical and geological tale to tell when all its aspects and features are stitched together. It is not just a lovely scenic ride along its entire length, there are sections which are truly iconic and almost certainly, all those who cycle any part of this route will want to come back for more.




Buy Map: Buy Now
Distance in km (and miles): 193.1 km (120.7 miles)
Location: Northumberland
Long Distance Route: Yes
MTB: Yes
Route Suitable for: Mountain Biking, Experienced, Intermediate
Route Type: Mountain Bike
Grade: More information Challenge
Download GPX File: Download


Select any of the places of interest below to view them on the map.

Route (16) Places of Interest (52)
Cycle Hire (5) Cycling Transfer Companies (3)
Cycle Shop & Repairs (4) Food & Drink (19)
Tourist Information Centres (10) Long Distance Route (3)
Pubs & Restaurants (78) Cafe's & Tea Rooms (30)
Serviced Accommodation (20) Camp Site or Bunkhouse (5)
Self Catering (2)
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