This 13km (10 mile) circular cycle route will take you from Newcastle's Quayside, along lanes by the River Ouseburn, into the beautiful Jesmond Dene Valley, the heart of chic Jesmond Village, across The Town Moor, into Leazes Park and then back along the Quayside and all along mostly cycle paths and quiet roads. There are plenty of delightful places to stop, rest, eat, drink and shop along the way so take your time and make a day of it!
Overview of route (click here for a more detailed map):
We start this cycle route at the River Ouseburn inlet on the north side of the River Tyne (green star on map below).
Head north up Maling St. Turn left into Hume St. Turn left and cross over B1311 Byker Bank. Turn right into Foundry Lane.
The past twenty years have transformed Ouseburn to become one of the most vibrant creative communities in the North East with plenty of things to do. Home to artists, musicians, designers and much more, of the major thoroughfares in Ouseburn, Lime Street, is home to several creative hotspots.
As you come out to an open area towards the end of Foundry Lane, turn left and head over the bridge over the River Ouseburn towards Ouseburn Farm.
Around this green heart of the Ouseburn Valley, you will find The Cluny, a bar housed in an old whisky warehouse, originally built as a flax mill in the 1840s, and designed by John Dobson. It has a great selection of real ales! Also looking onto the green area is The Ship Inn. The Ship Inn is one of the oldest pubs in the area, and owes its name to the historic importance of river craft in the development and heritage of the Ouseburn Valley.
Above: Ouseburn Farm Newcastle, credit https://www.instagram.com/ouseburnfarmnewcastle/
In case you're not entirely sure Ouseburn Farm really is a farm! But you won’t find it in the countryside as they're based right in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. They've also got a lovely cafe serving delightful food, and wherever possible they utilise ingredients from the farm itself. Ouseburn Farm is a local visitor attraction that’s supported by generous donations and run by dedicated staff and volunteers for the benefit of the community. It's a ‘working farm’ as well as a training and education centre so not your typical farm, the staff and volunteers creating a friendly, positive and nourishing environment where everyone feels welcome and valued. So pop along and visit their award-winning, environmentally friendly building, and spend time with the pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, lizards, tortoises, meadows, ponds and woodlands. https://www.ouseburnfarm.org.uk/
Above: Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books, Newcastle
Also just off this green heart, down Lime St, you will find Seven Stories, the Centre for Children’s Books. This is a superb place to go to see an inspirational collection of original artworks, manuscripts and all manner of other paraphernalia and activities relating to children’s books (note: there is a fee to get in, but it’s free to use the bookshop and cafe).
Further along Lime Street you will find the Ouseburn Resource Centre for more information on this fascinating area. Here also is the entrance to The Victoria Tunnel, a preserved 19th century waggonway under the city from the Town Moor to the Tyne, built to transport coal from Spital Tongues (Leazes Main) Colliery to the river and operated between 1842 and the 1860s. The Tunnel was converted in 1939 into an air-raid shelter to protect thousands of Newcastle citizens during World War 2.
As you exit the bridge, continue ahead (Ship Inn on your right) up Stepney Bank. Turn right into Stepney Rd.
Ouseburn Valley has a long and rich history. Known as the cradle of the industrial revolution in Newcastle, due to its location on the River Tyne, barges would load goods and coal from Ouseburn to be shipped around the world.
At the heart of Ouseburn is the entrance to The Victoria Tunnel, an underground wagon way that used the power of gravity to transport coal from Leazes Colliery - just north of the city centre - all the way down to the Quayside for transportation. The fantastic feat of Victorian engineering was later used as an air raid shelter during the Second World War, and is now open for tours.
This is the valley which gave birth to Newcastle’s own industrial revolution. As early as the 17th century, glass factories were established near the mouth of the Ouseburn and local supplies of coal were used to fuel the glassmaking processes. Water power drove machinery in the flint and flax mills which developed in the late 18th/early 19th centuries; lime kilns, a coppers works, tanneries and a white lead factory also arrived on the scene. Now, the whole of the Ouseburn area has been earmarked for careful regeneration aimed at keeping its unique character intact.
Above: new bars opening under the arches in Ouseburn
At the end of Stepney Rd, continue into Portland Rd, take the pathway to the right into City Stadium park. Follow the bike lane across the park and exit directly opposite into Hotspur St.
Above: The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle
Just along from Stepney Road you will find The Biscuit Factory, Britain’s largest independent art gallery with two floors of exhibition spaces and two floors of artists’ studios, selling paints, prints, photography, sculpture, glass, ceramics and jewellery by regional, national and international artists and makers.
Continue up Hotspur St. At the end turn left into Heaton Park Rd. Continue ahead to the gated entrance into Heaton Park.
Follow the main pathway through Heaton Park to Jesmond Vale Lane.
Cross over Jesmond Vale Lane and continue along the main pathway through Armstrong Park.
Turn left onto Armstrong Bridge and turn right into Jesmond Dene Valley (continue a little further along the bridge for a view down into the valley). Take the pathway down to the main Red Walk along the valley floor, past the Ouseburn Parks Visitor Centre and Pet's Corner.
Jesmond Dene is a unique haven of peace and tranquility for the people of Newcastle. It is a narrow wooded valley that follows the river Ouseburn between South Gosforth and Jesmond Vale. This provides an important wildlife corridor right into the centre of Newcastle. There is a spectacular mix of native and exotic trees, and the Dene is home to a lot of wildlife, notably the Kingfisher, the Red Squirrel and many woodland birds. The Dene stretches for over three kilometres and has many areas of tranquillity, as well as ‘honey pots’ of activity.
Jesmond Dene provides strong historical links with 19th Century industrial development and landscape design – Lord Armstrong’ s influence being very apparent. There is also a large network of paths and bridges throughout.
Near the entrance of Jesmond Dene, just off the Coast Road is Millfield House and Ouseburn Parks Visitor Information Centre. This provides a range of activities including a Ranger Service Information Room, Conference Centre, café and toilets. This part of the Dene also has a large picnic area and a ‘Pet’s Corner’. Other facilities in Jesmond Dene include Paddy Freemans boating lake, which also has a play area, toilets and a café open on weekends and holidays. The area can be reached along Freeman Road.
Pets Corner, in the heart of Jesmond Dene, is a popular, family-friendly visitor attraction. You'll find animals of all shapes and sizes, including alpacas, pot-bellied pigs, goats and sheep alongside rabbits and colourful birds and much more! Please note Pets Corner may be shut at short notice if the staff are called away to an emergency and please do not bring food for the animals, they are on specially designed diets!
For more information about the history of this valley, please visit the Friends of Jesmond Dene.
Continue to follow the main pathway up through the valley.
As you pass the waterfall and mill, keep left to take the path out of the valley towards Jesmond Dene House on Jesmond Dene Rd. Turn right left onto Jesmond Dene Road.
The fashionable district of Jesmond is located just a few miles outside of the city centre and is home to some of the best bars and restaurants in the region, as well as a range of boutique shops and quaint cafes, along with conveniently located hotels hidden among the beautiful rows of Victorian terraced houses.
Turn right into The Grove and follow this small back lane until it comes out onto the main Osborne Rd.
Turn left onto Osborne Rd then right into Acorn Rd. Turn left onto St George's Terrace then right into Thornleigh Rd and left into Forsyth Rd. Turn right into Brentwood Avenue with its cafe's and shops. Continue ahead after the last shop on the right towards the West Jesmond Metro Station.
Above: Brentwood Avenue shops and cafes, Jesmond, Newcastle
Just before the Metro Station turn left into Mayfair Rd and at the end left again into Highbury. Turn right into Forsyth Rd, cross over the B1318 Great North Road at the pedestrian lights, and continue ahead into Town Moor taking the path ahead across the moor.
At a junction of paths in the centre of the moor, turn left.
When you reach the exit of the Moor by the A167, take the bridge over the A167 to the roundabout, continue straight ahead and then first right into Framlington Place.
Approx 175m along, take the pathway on your left down towards Leazes Park.
Enter Leazes Park and cycle around the lake.
Below: Leazes Park lake, Newcastle
Exit Leazes Park onto Leazes Terrace running alongside St James Park football stadium (maybe take a detour on a home matchday!). Cross over Strawberry Place and continue ahead onto Strawberry Lane. Turn left onto Gallowgate and straight ahead into Blackett St.
Below: Grey's Monument, Newcastle
Cycle past Grey's Monument then turn right into Pilgrim St, onto National Cycle Route 725. Follow the cycle path across Mosley St by the Pilgrim St roundabout.
Look for the ramp down on your right before you go under the rail bridge, to take the tunnel following Cycle Route 725 underneath the A167(M). Follow the cycle route onto Manor Chare by All Saints Church, then turn right down Broad Chare back to the Quayside. Turn left to follow the Quayside all the way back to the start of this cycle by the River Ouseburn inlet.
Hope you enjoyed your cycle!
Ian from Walk Run Cycle
Information from various sources including wikipedia.org.
Map source files copyright openstreetmap.org