A leisure ride from Alwinton, across the Otterburn Military Firing Ranges. It is an exhilarating ride along superb military roads revealing magnificent panoramas, views of ancient bastle houses, Roman forts, and modern day rusting tank hulks. Climaxing in an exciting descent down Upper Coquetdale.
This circular ride, starting and finishing in Alwinton, lies entirely within the boundary of the Northumberland National Park (although the designated ranges are under MOD jurisdiction). The roads are generally well maintained by the MOD and are very quiet. Note that the ranges are only open to the public when there are no firing exercises underway (mainly on bank holiday weekends), so there will be no danger of being shot or blown up.
Initially after leaving Alwinton, the route heads south following the River Coquet through Harbottle (ruined medieval castle) and on to Holystone where we will visit the tranquil and bewitching Lady Well. Continuing south we join the B6341 and climb up to Billsmoorfoot where we strike north on to the ranges.
Continuing north over some steep climbs we reach “Burma Road” and head west over the undulating road towards Ridlees Cairn. Before reaching the cairn we will divert southwest for half a mile to see a modern archaeological gem – the WWI training battle trenches. After passing the trenches we retrace our route and head north to Ridlees Cairn, a fabulous 360-degree viewpoint.
After lunch, the route goes to the northwest corner of the Ranges (partly along the Roman road Dere Street) climbing steadily to the highest point on the ride at 510m. Starting the descent but soon afterwards you are able to stop for a few minutes to enjoy the excellent view of the Chew Green Roman fort laid out before us at the head of Coquetdale. Thereafter, there is an exhilarating descent down the spectacular Coquetdale to Alwinton
The ride is all on road. Distance: 38 miles. There are multiple climbs (and descents) along the route, some of which are steep Overall difficulty is strenuous.
Despite the network of good military roads, this is a real wilderness. There are no facilities after Alwinton.
This route was created by Kevin Malloy from Wooler Cycle Hub.