The Reivers Cycle Route is a waymarked coast to coast cycle route from the North Sea to the Irish Sea coast in Cumbria.
Less cycled than the C2C, it has fewer of the steep Pennine hills, and yet is wilder and a good challenge.
Originally known as ‘The Return C2C’, it starts at the finish point of the C2C and finishes at the start point of the C2C.
The start point is at Tynemouth. Soon passing out of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne built-up area the route is well signposted. It passes through Ponteland on the way to Bellingham.
The route heads north west to the forests surrounding the Kielder Reservoir. It then heads back south west via quiet moorland roads and into Carlisle.
It skirts the northern end of the Lake District at the back of Skiddaw and runs through Cockermouth to the coast at Workington. From there the route follows cycle paths down the coast to finish in Whitehaven.
Whitehaven and Tynemouth are both on national rail lines, and so you can use the train to reach the start or to get back from your finish point. Do check out how to book your bike on the train before you start though.
The Reivers Route
Overall, it’s wilder country than the C2C, and a longer cycle route, with fewer big climbs.
There are two maps available. There is the original and very good Reivers Cycle Route Map.
There is also a newer (also good) Reivers Cycle Routes map, which shows both an on-road and an off-road route. See below.
Either way, it is an excellent cycle-touring route. I certainly enjoyed it when I rode it!
Or put a map in your basket below.
Brief description of the Reivers Cycle Route
The Reivers Route starts at Tynemouth (where the C2C finishes) and heads north west to Bellingham along country lanes.
It then becomes wilder as it runs through Kielder Forest. You can either take the forest track routes (which are too rough for road bikes) or stay on road.
The route comes out of the forest and dropped down through Newcastleton. Do stop off to see the fabulous Bewcastle Cross, and then head down to Carlisle using the signposted country lanes.
From Carlisle, the road rises pretty steadily to Caldbeck, from where there are some quite entertaining (!) ups and downs to Bassenthwaite.
It’s then quite straightforward to Cockermouth where the route joins the Workington branch of the C2C. In Workington it turns south, running on cycleways almost all the way to the finish at Whitehaven on the slipway, exactly where the Whitehaven branch of the C2C starts.