National Cycle Network

The National Cycle Network (NCN) is the national cycling route network of the United Kingdom, which was established to encourage cycling throughout Britain, as well as for the purposes of bicycle touring. It was created by the charity Sustrans who were aided by a £42.5 million National Lottery grant. In 2017, the 16,575 mile network was used for over 786 million trips.

The NCN is made up of 5,273 miles of traffic-free paths with the remaining 11,302 miles on-road.[1] It uses shared use paths, disused railways, minor roads, canal towpaths and traffic-calmed routes in towns and cities. The road sections range from quiet rural lanes to busy roads.

Openstreetmap-ncn-20111013-hires
The NCN on OpenStreetMap
Bristol-Bath Cyclepath 08
The first section of the NCN to be built was the Bristol & Bath Railway Path, opened in 1984

History

The opening of the Bristol and Bath Railway Path (now part of National Route 4) in 1984, a 15-mile cycleway following a railway no longer in use, was the first part of the NCN.[2]

The original goal was to create 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of signed cycle routes by 2005,[2] with 50% of these not being on roads, and all of it being "suitable for an unsupervised twelve year old." By mid-2000, 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of route was signposted to an "interim" standard, and a new goal was then set to double that to 10,000 miles (16,000 km) by 2005. August 2005 saw the completion of that goal.

As of August 2014, there were 14,700 miles (23,700 km) of signed cycle route to NCN standards.[3]

In 2018, Sustrans published the National Cycle Network - Paths for Everyone report which reviewed the quality and usage of the Network and set out a vision for its future.

Routes

National routes

There are ten national NCN routes; these are numbered from 1 to 10. As of 2018 they are not all complete.

Numbering system

NCN routes beginning with numbers 1 to 6 are generally in England, the routes that begin with a 7 start in the far north of England and Scotland, with 8 are generally in Wales, and 9 in Northern Ireland. The main routes have one digit (1 to 6 radiate clockwise from the south of England); other routes have two digits, starting with the number of the relevant main route.

There are also many regional routes, reaching smaller towns and cities within ten designated regions. Each region is divided into a maximum of nine areas. Regional route numbers comprise the area number 1 to 9 followed by another digit. (An exception is in the Scottish Borders council area, where regional routes are numbered 1 to 9.) This means that across the UK there could be 10 regional route 12s, for instance, as well as the national route 12. To reduce confusion, identically numbered areas in adjacent regions do not abut, and routes with the same number are widely separated.

In 2009 regional routes were being renumbered with 3-digit national numbers.[4]

Routes are occasionally numbered to match the motorways and major roads that connect the same destinations; examples include National Route 62, which by connecting the two sides of the Pennines mirrors the M62 motorway.

Signage

Loch Dee - geograph.org.uk - 2865
A NCN "Millennium Milepost"

The network is signposted using a white bicycle symbol on a blue background, with a white route number in an inset box, but with no destination names or distances. National Route numbers have a red background, Regional Route numbers have a blue background. The system of symbols is based on that used by the Danish National Cycle Route network.

Mileposts

One thousand "Millennium Mileposts" made from cast iron were funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland to mark the creation of the National Cycle Network, and these are found along the NCN routes throughout the UK.

Millennium Milepost - Close-up (top) - geograph.org.uk - 303741
Millennium Milepost - Close-up (top) - geograph.org.uk - 303741

There are four different types: "Fossil Tree" (designed by John Mills), "The Cockerel" (designed by Iain McColl), "Rowe Type" (designed by Andrew Rowe), and "Tracks" (designed by David Dudgeon). The four artists are from each country of the UK, though all posts can be found in all four countries.[5][6]

Most mileposts contain a disk featuring symbols and text in code. There are 60 different designs, spread across the country. They form part of the Millennium Time Trail, a treasure hunt puzzle created by Sustrans in 2001.[7]

The Verse held within the coded text is:

MEASURE EVERY HEARTBEAT TO COUNT OUT OUR LIFE'S SCORE/

IS "TIME TO ESCAPE" MEANT TO FIRE OUR COMING AGE?/

LOCKED IN SEASONS' BARS SWINGS PENDULUM'S CEASELESS CLAW/

LUNGS NEVER FULL ENSNARE US IN TIME'S EIGHT PIECE CAGE/

ENTROPY'S AIM SHOOTS LEPTONS IN DANCING CYCLES OF LIGHT/

NATIONS REACH OUT IN HOPE ACROSS TIME ZONES AND LONG DEGREES/

NO CORNERS TO HIDE US, EARTH’S SHADE SPINS HOURLY ROUND TO NIGHT/

IN ALL MIND-STREAMS WE WADE, OUR WORLD-LINES WEAVE PAST TAPESTRIES/

UNCERTAIN DREAMS EVOLVE IN THE STRUGGLE FOR THE “WHY?”/

MUST IN ALL THESE TIDES OF FAITH, FLOW STILL SUCH WAVES OF FEARS?/

PLACE AND TIME TEMPT FATES, BUT ALL LIFE’S NATURE IS TO DIE/

OUR ERA, STARS, BOWS OUT, PLAYING ITS MUSICAL SPHERES/

EVERY GAINED UTOPIAN GOAL MAKES US MANIFOLD TIME’S TREASURE/

MAPPED OUT, AS ABOVE SO BELOW, NERGAL TICKS OFF TIME’S MEASURE///

See also

References

  1. ^ "National Cycle Network report". Sustrans. Sustrans. 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b Hesdin, Farah (29 November 2011). "The UK on a bicycle: the National Cycle Network". Bikenet.com. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  3. ^ "About the National Cycle Network". Sustrans. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Route numbering system". Sustrans website. Sustrans. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  5. ^ "National Cycle Network Mileposts". Geograph Britain and Ireland website. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  6. ^ "National Cycle Network - Art - Mileposts". Sustrans website. Sustrans. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Secrets of the Millennium Time Trail". Secrets of the Millennium Time Trail website. Retrieved 23 August 2015.

Further reading

  • Sustrans, 2002. The Official Guide To The National Cycle Network, 2nd ed. Italy: Canile & Turin. ISBN 1-901389-35-9.

External links

Barton, Cheshire

Barton is a village and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. The village is located near the Welsh border, about twelve miles south of Chester, and only about eight miles east of Wrexham in Wales.

According to the 2001 census it had a population of 71, increasing to 123 at the 2011 census, a decline from a high-point of 143 in 1801.

The A534 road passes through the village. The National Cycle Network Regional Route 70 passes just to the south of the village.

The ancient church serving Barton is at Farndon, St. Chad's.

The pub is the "Cock o' Barton".

Cornish Way

The Cornish Way is a cycle route which is part of the National Cycle Network that links Bude to Land's End. The route is via Padstow or St Austell and is 180 miles in length.

List of National Cycle Network routes

This is a list of routes on Sustrans's National Cycle Network within the United Kingdom.

As the cycle network has not been fully completed, some sections of routes are still under construction.

List of cycle routes in London

This article provides a list of cycle routes in the Greater London area that have been waymarked with formal route signage.

The routes include Cycle Superhighways, Quietways and the older London Cycle Network Plus, all designated by local government body Transport for London (TfL), and National Cycle Network routes designated by sustainable transport charity Sustrans.

Note: not all these routes are dedicated 'traffic free' cycle tracks: most of them also include ordinary roads shared with motor traffic and footpaths shared with pedestrians.

National Cycle Route 1

National Cycle Route 1 (or NCR 1) is a route of the National Cycle Network, running from Dover to Shetland. The 1,695-mile-long (2,728 km) cycle-path is located in the United Kingdom.

National Cycle Route 10

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 10 is a Sustrans National Route that runs from Cockermouth to North Shields. The route is 129 miles (208 km) in length and is fully open and signed in both directions.

National Cycle Route 165

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 165 is a Sustrans National Route that runs from Barnard Castle to Whitby. The route is 74 miles (119 km) in length and is fully open and signed in both directions.

National Cycle Route 3

National Cycle Route 3 (or NCR 3) is a route of the National Cycle Network, running from Bristol to Land's End.

National Cycle Route 43

National Cycle Network, Route 43 is part of the National Cycle Network and the Celtic Trail, which connects Swansea with Builth Wells. Most of the route is still awaiting development. As of June 2006, there is a 13-mile section out of Swansea that is open and signed.

National Cycle Route 5

National Cycle Route 5 (or NCR 5) is a route of the National Cycle Network, running from Reading to Holyhead.

National Cycle Route 56

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 56 is a Sustrans National Route that runs from Chester to Liverpool. The route utilises country lanes, a former railway trackbed, a coastal path and a seaside promenade.

National Cycle Route 622

National Cycle Route 622, the Preston Guild Wheel, part of the National Cycle Network in North West England, is a 21-mile cycle and walking route encircling the city of Preston in Lancashire and is one of the city's flagship Guild Legacy projects from the 2012 Preston Guild.

Preston is also the midpoint of the national cycle network.

National Cycle Route 648

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 648 is a Sustrans National Route that connects Bakewell to Sherwood Forest. The route has opened between Sherwood Forest and Shirebrook and is 5 miles (8.0 km) in length and is signed in both directions.

National Cycle Route 657

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 657 is a loop of the White Rose cycle route, NCN 65. It branches off the main route to connect the town of Thirsk to the National Cycle Network. Prior to 2009 the route had been signed as part of NCN 65.

The combination of NCN 657 and a section of NCN 65 creates a circular route from Thirsk to Kirkby Knowle to Coxwold to Easingwold and returning to Thirsk.

National Cycle Route 71

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 71 is a Sustrans National Route that runs from Whitehaven and Workington on the Cumbrian coast to Kirby Knowle in North Yorkshire to join NCN Route 65. The route is fully open and signed in both directions.

National Cycle Route 76

National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 76 is a Sustrans National Route that runs from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Kirkcaldy. The route is 168 miles (270 km) in length and is fully open and signed in both directions. Between Dunbar and Kirkcaldy the route is known as the Round the Forth.

Sustrans

Sustrans is a UK sustainable transport charity.

Its flagship project is the National Cycle Network, which has created over 16,575 mi of signed cycle routes throughout the UK, but about 70% of the network is on previously existing, mostly minor roads, in which motor traffic will be encountered.Sustrans works with schools to encourage active travel (cycling, walking or scooting) among students. It also works with employers and local authorities. It administers several thousand volunteers who contribute their time to the charity in numerous ways, such as cleaning and maintaining the National Cycle Network, enhancing biodiversity along the routes, leading walks and rides and supporting communities to improve their air quality.

Trans Pennine Trail

The Trans Pennine Trail is a long-distance path running from coast to coast across Northern England entirely on surfaced paths and using only gentle gradients (it runs largely along disused railway lines and canal towpaths). It forms part of European walking route E8 and is part of the National Cycle Network as Route 62 (referencing the M62 motorway which also crosses the Pennines).

Most of the surfaces and gradients make it a relatively easy trail, suitable for cyclists, pushchairs and wheelchair users. The section between Stockport and Barnsley is hilly, especially near Woodhead, and not all sections or barriers are accessible for users of wheelchairs or non-standard cycles. Some parts are also open to horse riding.

The trail is administered from a central office in Barnsley, which is responsible for promotion and allocation of funding. However, the twenty-seven local authorities whose areas the trail runs through are responsible for management of the trail within their boundaries.

Worth Way

The Worth Way is a 7-mile (11 km) footpath and bridleway linking the West Sussex towns of Crawley and East Grinstead via the village of Crawley Down. Mostly following the trackbed of a disused railway the path is an important wildlife corridor. It is part of the National Cycle Network.

Sustrans' National Cycle Network
Main routes
National routes
Regional routes
Named Routes

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