The Cawfields Gap
Route type: Other
Total climb: 1,358.27 ft
Distance: 26.17km, 16.26 miles. Like (9)
7 rides through the heart of Hadrian's Wall Country From a base at Haltwhistle some of the most wonderful landscapes of northern England are open to exploration. The seven routes described here cross varied countryside and are free of heavy traffic, giving delightful rides between pleasant places to visit, rest and eat. The Newcastle-Carlisle railway line runs through the area and offers â€˜hop-on hop-offâ€™ options for some routes, allowing you to explore further afield â€“ and to save your legs! From Haltwhistle the Hadrianâ€™s Wall World Heritage Site is easily accessible, including fascinating museums such as Vindolanda and Chesters and Roman milecastles set amidst dramatic scenery. Visit the Wall by longer routes such as the Birdoswald, Cawfields and Fourstones circuits (Routes 1, 2 and 5) or the shorter Vallum loop, which includes the best remaining stand of original Roman wall at Walltown (Route 4). To the south lie the wild fells of the North Pennines, now an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Britainâ€™s first Geopark, established in 2003 because of its special geological characteristics. The North Pennines retain nearly half of Englandâ€™s traditional hay-meadows, a complex ecosystem formed over centuries of sustainable land management, and Routes 3 and 6 take you past some of the little-known farms and villages where the meadows survive. The natural history of the region can be savoured at the Northumberland Wildlife Trust nature reserve near Beltingham (Route 3) and the Northumberland National Park, with its Visitor Centre at Once Brewed (Route 2). In addition to the Roman sites, the later history of this contested area of borderland between England and Scotland is in evidence along the routes, especially Lanercost Priory, Bewcastle and Thirlwall Castle (Routes 1 and 7). The differing lengths of the routes â€“ from 7 miles to 40 â€“ mean thereâ€™s something for everyone. And if you havenâ€™t brought your own bike with you, cycles are available for hire at key points. All cycle routes in this leaflet start from the railway station in Haltwhistle, an attractive market town bounded by Hadrianâ€™s Wall and Northumberland National Park to the north and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the south. We have identified a range of routes suitable for different levels of fitness. However, in this part of Britain it is impossible to avoid hills completely so you may have to get off and push occasionallyâ€¦Donâ€™t feel disheartened, just use it as an opportunity to draw breath and view some of the countryâ€™s most stunning scenery! For off-road sections we advise using an Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 map. These sections may be rough and muddy. Please check opening times of attractions and eateries before setting off â€“ many have seasonal opening hours.