Cathedrals Cycle Route challenge
Long-distance cycle routes in the UK have become hugely popular in recent years and it doesn’t come much longer than this one: the Cathedrals Cycle Route (CCR), stretching almost 2,000 miles across England’s landscape.
Whichever English cathedral you visit this year, you will be able to arrive by bike, thanks to a unique partnership between Cycling UK, the British Pilgrimage Trust, Sustrans and the Association of English Cathedrals. The route will link every Church of England cathedral in a new initiative to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing. It is hoped that the route will be extended to other UK nations in the future.
Officially the route starts at England’s most northerly cathedral, Newcastle, and from there winds its way around the country, taking in history and natural beauty at each leg of the journey. The full route is 1,825 miles, but it has been broken down into 42 sections, between each of the cathedrals. The legs are all of differing terrain, difficulty and lengths – ranging from just 1 mile to more than 100! – so there’s something for everyone.
The separate sections range from panoramic hill views, lakes, river and canal rides to quiet country back lanes and bustling cities.
There are many ways to complete this route, both on road and off road, but however you arrive at a cathedral you will be welcomed. Each cathedral will carry a CCR stamp or sticker. A coveted CCR Finishers Medal is planned to award to all those who have completed the full 42 cathedrals (CCR/PP passport or stamps may be required).
Most people will be tempted by the cathedral-to-cathedral day trips, with almost all destinations benefiting from train services allowing point-to-point journeys. This year the route is being ridden in reverse, anti-clockwise round England.
To find out about opening times and cafés and other facilities at the cathedrals you plan to visit, the easiest way is to look in the ‘visit’ section of each organisation’s individual website. You can find links to the cathedral websites.
Each cathedral is aiming to appoint a dedicated cycle champion to improve the cycle readiness of their buildings, ensuring a warm welcome for visiting cyclists.
The published CCR route takes mostly paved surfaces suitable for all skill levels and makes use of existing trails where possible. However, if you want to switch to off road, each leg of the journey offers huge variety, including a section of King Alfred’s Way.
The route is not signposted, but very often you are following a recognised cycle route. Parts of the route will require far greater emphasis on your own navigation skills to stay on track, so with so many sites of interest to look out for, scenic vistas to enjoy and coffee shops to visit, don’t forget to keep one eye out for the cathedral spire.
Please note: This is not a Cycling UK route and has been brought about with the help of Cathedral Cycle Champions and the cycling public so may be subject to change. If you think a route could be improved please get in touch at email@example.com