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The Coast to Coast or Sea to Sea Cycle Route (C2C) is Great Britainmarker's most popular long-distance cycle route and is based on minor roads, disused railway lines, off-road tracks and specially constructed cycle paths. It crosses the Lake Districtmarker and the Pennines in the north of England.

At long, the route is designed for the whole range of cyclists, from families to cycle club riders. Off-road sections have an alternative surfaced track. Although a challenge with some hard climbs—the highest point being over - the C2C has an average of between 12,000 and 15,000 cyclists completing the route every year.

The route should not be confused with the Coast to Coast Walk, a long-distance footpath which takes a different route between the two coastlines.


The C2C was developed by Sustrans and part of the National Cycle Network (NCN) in partnership with various Local Authorities, Groundwork West Cumbria, North Pennines Tourism Partnership, Forest Enterprise and the Lake District National Parkmarker amongst others. The route was opened in 1994 running from Whitehaven on the west coast of Cumbriamarker to the North East coast at Sunderlandmarker. A northern branch splits off from the main route at Consettmarker, following the route of the Derwent Walk, passing through Tynesidemarker and ending at Tynemouthmarker.

In 2005 a complementary route was opened further to the south. This, titled the Walney to Wear route (W2W), is designed to be slightly tougher and longer. It runs from Walney Islandmarker in south west Cumbria to Sunderland via the North Yorkshire Moorsmarker and Durhammarker.


A number of public artworks have been commissioned for the route, including Tony Cragg's Terris Novalis at Consettmarker, sheepfolds by Andy Goldsworthy at various points in Cumbria and Alison Wilding's Ambit in the river Wear at Sunderlandmarker. Eduardo Chillida had been commissioned to create a work for Whitehavenmarker, but the project has not been completed.

On the Consett to Sunderland branch, there are The Old Transformers by David Kemp below Pontop Pikemarker mast near Annfield Plainmarker and four steel cows near Beamish Museummarker (artist unknown).


The route starts in the former coal mining and industrial lands of Whitehaven, West Cumbria, travels through the stunning scenery of the northern Lake District, heading into Keswickmarker before passing through Penrithmarker and the Eden Valleymarker with its lush valleys and sandstone villages. It then starts the climb up to Hartside Pass and onto the Northern Pennines - the "roof of England". There then follows an undulating ride as the C2C meanders through old lead mining villages, such as Garrigillmarker, Nentheadmarker and Rookhopemarker, and down into the Durham Dales before entering the old steel town of Consettmarker. From here it's an easy ride through one of Britain's old industrial heartlands to the North Seamarker and Sunderlandmarker. There is also the option of starting at Workingtonmarker and/or finishing at Tynemouthmarker and also a link route at Penrith to join up with the Glasgowmarker to Carlislemarker section of the National Cycle Route. The route is made up of approximately:

  • Main Roads - mainly short sections through urban areas - 4%

  • Minor Roads - quiet, country roads - 50%

  • Cyclepaths/Off Road - disused railway lines etc- 46%

The C2C is best ridden from West to East to take advantage of the prevailing winds from the West and the more favourable gradients. Tradition dictates that you start the ride by dipping your back wheel in the Irish Seamarker and only ends when your front wheel gets a dip in the North Seamarker at the finish. It is typically completed in 3–5 days, though it has been completed in a single day.

The route links to other parts of the NCN so can be used as part of a longer cycle tour.

Route maps for the C2C and detailed route guides from other publishers are available from Sustrans.

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