C2C - Durham Loop
Route Section: Durham Loop
From Start: 173km (108m) | From Finish: 56km (35m)
Distances from Hownsgill Viaduct
Lanchester 8km (5m)
Durham 24km (15m)
Hetton-le-Hole 37km (23m)
Sunderland 51km (32m)
This braid (or loop) was added as an alternative end, taking in the historic city of Durham and the scenic village of Lanchester. It links up with the W2W route (Walney to Wear) at Durham and winds its way up to Durham.
Lanchester dates from Roman times, when there was a fort with 1,000 solders on Dere Street, the great road connecting York and Corbridge. Its drift mine closed in the 1970s and now the place is a pretty residential village with close connections to farming.
1.5km after crossing the A68 at Castleside you will come to the Hownsgill Viaduct, a magnificent creation of the steam age with splendid views across the north east. Immediately after the bridge comes Lydgetts Junction, where you should turn right onto Route 14, marked Lanchester and Durham.
The route follows the old railway line past Knitsley Farm with its toothsome shop. Lanchester is about 6km away and is a pleasant market village with 3 pubs, a deli and a small shopping centre.
It is a further 13km to Durham, mostly following the same disused rail track, passing Langley Park and Bearpark before coming to Baxter Woods on the outskirts of the city.
Turn right onto Toll House Rd and just past Neville Dene turn left into Monica Grove and right onto Redhills Lane then take the next (sharp) right into Sutton Place. Take the next sharp left onto the A690 and then the traffic free section which takes you to Milburngate Bridge, where instead of crossing you briefly follow Framwellgate before crossing at the next bridge, then back to Leazes Rd (the other side of the Milburngate Bridge).
You will shortly be on traffic-free path again which takes you down to the river Wear where you turn left before passing Baths Bridge. Follow the river with Pelaw Wood on your left. Where the river bears to the right the path will now part company with the Wear, going through Old Durham to Bent House Lane, where you head left.
Follow NCN 14 along Renny's Lane and over the A1M where it becomes a traffic-free path again. Follow 14 into Sherburn, following Dowsey Rd then left at the T-junction into Lady's Place Lane onto Regional Route 20, passing to the west of Low Pittington. Keep on Route 20.
It soon becomes traffic-free again. Continue following Route 20 through Hetton-le-Hole and left onto the Great Northern Forest Trail, crossing the B1404 and then over the A19. There's a sharp left along a traffic-free section alongside the A19 before Route 20 heads right, through East Herrington and then Farringdon.
Keep to the left of the ornamental lake (though you can equally follow the other path to the right) and you will shortly link up with NCN1 which takes you to Sunderland's famous Wearmouth Bridge. Take the cycle lane over the bridge and link up with the end of the C2C, through to Roker.