Pedalling skills to connect people and places.
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Cycling development projects produced by Ted Liddle of CycleTRAX

1. Northumberland since 2002

1.0 Background

Sustainable tourism has been on the agenda in Northumberland for a long time but the mechanics have never been fully understood or implemented in an organised way working to a masterplan. The time has never been right for the authority and various related bodies to fully action the recommendations contained in a string of commissioned studies and reports.  Here follows a summary of these reports with dates. 

1.1. 2002: Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA) commissioned Ted Liddle of CycleTRAX to write their ‘People and Place’ report.

1.2. 2006: Northumberland County council commissioned Ted Liddle then of Transport Initiatives to undertake and report back the Review of the National Cycle Network in Northumberland (2007). This was duly done within the limits of the budget but very few of the recommendation were implemented. 

1.3. Late 2006: a study was commissioned by Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA) to review the cycling uptake and potential in and around NNP and to make recommendations for improvement. The study, proposed and written by Ted Liddle of CycleTRAX with support from Steve Essex, was submitted in March 2008. 

This study concluded cycle tourism was significantly under-achieving in and around Northumberland National Park (NNP) and made 4 recommendations: 

  1. Create 4 cycling hubs to promote on and off-road cycling at agreed locations which fit in with the priorities of One Northeast (ONE), Northumberland Strategic Partnership (NSP) and Northumberland Tourism (N’land Tsm) and in line with NNPA priorities. 
  2. Implement a range of initiatives to support and improve existing cycling routes and products firmly grounded in meeting needs, ‘customer care’, product creation and enhancement, ‘managing the experience’ and ‘unlocking the potential’ in terms of user satisfaction, community benefit and economic impact.   
  3. Give support to, and benefit from, the development of recently constructed purpose-built Forestry Commission (FC) mountain bike trail centres at Kielder.
  4. Support a funded ‘mechanism’ to improve and manage the cycling offer in Northumberland. The proposed ‘mechanism’ does not currently exist. 

The study defined cycling hubs and detailed a three stage process for their delivery namely, scoping, feasibility and implementation. Stage 1 (Scoping) was undertaken for the 4 main recommended locations – Wooler, Rothbury, Bellingham with Kielder and Haltwhistle as part of a very comprehensive cycling study. 

1.4. In support of the above study, NSP commissioned Ted Liddle of CycleTRAX to undertake Stage 2 (Feasibility) for the proposed cycling hubs at Wooler and Haltwhistle. This study was submitted in April 2008 and it is understood the recommendations therein have been accepted and funding for Stage (Implementation) was sanctioned in 2009.

Note: Out of region general tourism consultants with nil cycling experience were subsequently appointed to implement both cycle hubs. Circa £150K was spent with little to see for it – certainly not 2 cycling hubs as envisaged. The legacy of this lost opportunity is two VERY expensive cycling maps.

1.5. The above studies led Tynedale Council to commission CycleTRAX to undertake a combined scoping and feasibility study for creating cycling hubs at Hexham and Prudhoe. Both studies with recommendations were submitted in November 2008 and filed. 

1.6. 2009: NCC commissioned CycleTRAX to write a report called ‘The process for improving recreational Cycling & Cycle Tourism in Northumberland’. The logical and justified recommendations in this report were deemed too ambitious to be implemented at that time.

1.7. 2013: CycleTRAX joined Cycle PAD to provide Northumberland Tourism with a study entitled ‘Recreational Cycling and Cycle Tourism in Northumberland which was an asset review / masterplan with recommendations for improving the status quo – see Northumberland Cycle Report 2013

1.8. 2013: North Pennines AONB commissioned CycleTRAX to provide a cycling and walking study for East and West Allen Valleys as part of a recently awarded HLF grant.

1.9. During the period between 2009 and 2013, Ted Liddle undertook numerous self-funded route development research projects with a view to producing two guidebooks and a set of route maps for which funding had been partly secured. [*below: devised by Ted Liddle]

1.10. March 2015: the 120 mile Sandstone Way by MTB* route between Berwick on Tweed and Hexham was launched. Some 10,000 riders have completed the route since then bringing significant economic impact - see www.sandstoneway.co.uk

1.11. 2015: the 105 mile the Borderlands Cycle Route* between Berwick on Tweed and Hexham was surveyed and brought to readiness for implementation in 2019 subject to funding 

1.12. 2015: the 300km Dozen Dales Cycle Routes* between Wooler and Skipton were and researched and brought to readiness for implementation in 2019 subject to funding

1.13. 2015: the 300km Esk to Esk Cycle Routes* between Eskdale (Cumbria) and Esk Valley (North Yorkshire) were further progressed towards launch in 2019 / 2020 subject to funding

1.14. 2017: Cycle Tour of the Cheviots and Kielder was developed & mapped – open yet to promote 

1.15. 2018: Devise a 200 km Gravel Bike Network in Kielder Forest / Hadrian’s Wall area for Forestry Commission to be implemented in 2019. Additionally, devise a cluster of short cycle routes in North in the same area for the forgotten Lands Project which is part of the Borderlands Growth Deal bid. 

1.16. 2018: Survey & review of signage & waymarking in Hamsterley Forest for Forestry Commission 

1.17. 2019: Re branding and re-launching the Reivers Cycle Route* between Tynemouth and Maryport via the Borders is being further progressed to be re-launched in 2019 

2. Cycling development projects in Cumbria

2.0. Virtually every long distance cycle route in Cumbria devised and implemented between 1995 and 2002 – see map record. 

2.1. Additionally, numerous studies have been undertaken in West Cumbria including Cycling Development in the Maryport Area; Linking Whitehaven Harbour with Haig Museum & Enterprise area (2 phases;, Hadrian’s Cycleway in West Cumbria: Review of existing signs, signing schedule for new signs, options for missing sections, cycle route signing in Ravenglass; cycle route signing in Carlisle and east to the Northumberland border 

2.2. Route creation as recommended in the Maryport Cycling Development study are continuing to be implemented.

3. Cycling development projects in County Durham

3.0. County Durham has a mixed record for cycling development but its 100 mile plus network of converted disused railway tracks is its flagship. CycleTRAX reviewed all these Greenways and researched County Durham’s cycle route map/guides. Other than a reasonable level of cycle route signing, Cycle Tourism in County Durham has never been managed and a strategy ostensibly to address this remains the main missing link.

3.1. Wheels to the Wild Cycle Route for North Pennines AONB – route review with recommendations

3.2. 2005: Headland to Hendon: coastal Greenway feasibility study. Much of this route is now built. 

3.3. 2011: Feasibility study to turn West Rainton and Leamside into a community cycling hub – still awaiting funding. 

4. Cycling development projects in Hartlepool

4.0. Five feasibility studies to develop a network of Greenways connecting to Hartlepool plus two urban studies to create cycling links and route network within Hartlepool 

5. Other cycle tourism projects

5.0. 2015: Offa’s Dyke Cycle Route feasibility study: Chepstow to Prestatyn – awaiting funding

5.1. 2016: Druridge Bay Coastal Access and Regeneration report for Banks Mining Ltd

5.2. 2018: Borderlands: Region of Cycling Excellence: Concept originator and compiler

5.3. The Great Alpine Chain Route by MTB: Geneva east thence to Salzburg; south from Innsbruck to the Venice plain – researched and ridden; Geneva to Nice by MTB to be completed in 2019

Note: Ted Liddle works WITH regional bodies, agencies and local authorities to progress cycling in order to secure cross departmental approval and support and avoid the blight of fragmentation and disconnections that do not provide any solutions. 

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Ted Liddle

Cycle Tourism & Greenway Development specialist

ted.liddle@btopenworld.com

07871 383 456