COAL TO KEEL NORTH EAST CYCLING TOUR

FROM £295 PER GROUP

7+ HOURS

PRIVATE CYCLING TOUR

FLEXI BOOKING

MAX GUESTS: 8

from £295/GROUP

7+ HOURS

PRIVATE CYCLING TOUR

FLEXI BOOKING

MAX GUESTS: 8

GREAT FOR PHOTOS

NORTH EAST CYCLING TOUR:CARRYING COALS TO NEWCASTLE

Over the centuries, coal was king in Newcastle giving rise to the famous idiom “Carrying coals to Newcastle” (meaning, roughly, the modern equivalent of “selling snow to Eskimos”). The coal industry dominated and shaped life in the North East and although now almost completely gone, its heritage is ever-present and this full day cycling tour explores its various facets.

Like a giant spider’s web, coal was carried via bridleways and rail tracks to the River Tyne with Newcastle’s virtual monopoly on the shipping of coal bringing great wealth to the town. You can read our blog post on Carrying Coals to Newcastle for a much more in-depth historical overview.

This full day North East cycling tour begins in Ouseburn, the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, exploring among other things the history of the Victoria Tunnel, a 19th century subterranean wagonway. We then follow the Tyne upriver via Newcastle’s Quayside and the impressive Dunston Staiths, a pier-like runway that was used to tip tons of coal into cargo holds.

The route then follows those old railway lines, the “Grand Lease Wagonway” which was the world’s first successful railway, dating back to the 1620s!

Highlights include Tanfield Railway, reputedly the world’s oldest railway, National Trust’s Gibside, the grand Georgian estate formerly owned by the coal baron George Bowes, as well as the recently opened Land of Oak & Iron Heritage Centre in Gateshead.

 At Newcastle Tour Company, the safety & health of our guests are always of paramount importance to us. This North East cycling tour has been optimised for post Covid-19 walking/cycling tours & follows our health protocols. Take a look at our blog post on cycling tours & the Coal to Keel tour.

CARRYIG COALS TO NEWCASTLE:NORTH EAST CYCLING TOUR ITINERARY

Ouseburn North East Cycling Tours
A MAZE OF WAGGONWAYS
A CRADLE OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
Begin your cycling tour at the Cycle Hub where you will be fitted with your bike. We set out in the Ouseburn quarter of Newcastle, the former cradle of industrialisation that has now been transformed into a creative cultural hub with a vibrant community feel. We’ll hear about the Victoria Tunnel, a preserved 19th century underground waggonway which transported coal from Leazes Main Colliery in Spital Tongues north of Newcastle to the riverside staiths at Ousburn.
A MAZE OF WAGGONWAYS
Ouseburn North East Cycling Tours
North East Cycling Tour
ALONG THE COALY TYNE
KEELMEN'S HOSPITAL & QUAYSIDE
Newcastle became a wealthy town thanks to its virtual monopoly on exporting coal. Find out about the makers and shakers of this trade: “hostmen” acted as middlemen between the mine owners and visiting merchants and bargained the coal deals. They employed local “keelmen” who ferried the coal on to the larger collier ships downriver to be exported further afield. We’ll look at some of the buildings that tell their tale such as the Keelmen’s Hospital.
ALONG THE COALY TYNE
North East Cycling Tour
Dunston Staiths North East Cycling Tour
WEST END NEWCASTLE
COALS ONTO THE RIVER
Dunston Staiths opened in 1893 by the North East Railway Company was built to allow large quantities of coal arriving by rail from the Durham Coalfields to be loaded directly onto waiting colliers ready for their journey to London and abroad. At its peak ca. 5.5m tons of coal were moved this way each year. This local landmark is a Scheduled Monument is believed to be the largest timber structure in Europe.
WEST END NEWCASTLE
Dunston Staiths North East Cycling Tour
North East Cycling Tour The Countryside
WAGGONWAYS CONTINUED...
AWAY FROM THE RIVER
The Whickham Grand Lease Way from Dunston Haugh to Lobley Hill is the world's first successful railway, dating to ca. 1621. Though rail transport had been invented in the Midlands around 1600, all earlier attempts to implement it had collapsed for economic reasons; only the Tyne worked on a sufficient scale. It is not only the first but the best documented and most visible of those railways built before 1660.
WAGGONWAYS CONTINUED...
North East Cycling Tour The Countryside
North East Cycling Tour
OLDEST RAILWAYS (WAGONNWAYS) IN THE WORLD
TANFIELD & CAUSEY ARCH
Marvel at this heritage railway line built during the 1720 by the Grand Allies to transport coal reliably and cheaply from inland collieries in Co. Durham to the Redheugh Staiths on the Tyne. It is allegedly the World’s Oldest Railway with the stunning Causey Arch Bridge being the oldest surviving single-arch bridge in the world.
OLDEST RAILWAYS (WAGONNWAYS) IN THE WORLD
North East Cycling Tour
6. Clockburn Lonnen
CLOCKBURN LONNEN
A DAY IN HISTORY
It is difficult to imagine that this narrow path, now a bridleway was once the main highway from the north to Durham. It crossed the Tyne at Newburn then passed to Winlaton. Cromwell's army of 16,000 men passed this way on their way to the Battle of Dunbar on 15 July 1650.
CLOCKBURN LONNEN
6. Clockburn Lonnen
Gibside National Trust
A GRAND ESTATE, GARDENS & TIME TO RELAX
THE NATIONAL TRUST AT GIBSIDE
Continue your North East cycling tour to one of the most stunning estates in the region... Gibside estate in the Derwent Valley was once owned by the Bowes-Lyon family. Coal baron, George Bowes designed this grand Georgian estate and we will look at the ruins of its grand hall, walled garden and the beautiful chapel set among this landscaped parkland.
A GRAND ESTATE, GARDENS & TIME TO RELAX
Gibside National Trust
Land of Oak And Iron
THE LAND OF OAK AND IRON
BACK TOWARDS CITYLIFE
Located at Winlaton Mill the Heritage centre offers an interesting and interactive insight into the heritage of the Derwent Valley. Once the heart of the industrial empire of Ambrose Crowley, an early iron magnate and later the Derwenthaugh Coke Works to supply the steel making industry the whole area has been regenerated and turned into a beautiful wildlife habitat. After a well-earned break, continue your North East cycling tour back into Newcastle...
THE LAND OF OAK AND IRON
Land of Oak And Iron

DETAILS ABOUT YOUR NORTH EAST CYCLING TOUR

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Professional local guide for your North East cycling tour
Bicycle hire for tour
Safety equipment (such as helmet etc.)
Locks included
Full support for any problems such as punctures etc.
Entry to The National Trust Gibside & The Land of Oak & Iron
Rounded story of Newcastle, the industrial past, surrounding areas & landscapes
Social Distancing

EXCLUSIONS

Food & drink
Transportation
Gratuities

GOOD TO KNOW

Consider bringing layers of clothing / rain jacket
Don't forget your camera
We will provide you with a map
Public transport nearby - ask us for details
Consider comfortable shoes suitable for your tour
This tour is approximately 35.5km (22m) long and involves hill climbs.
Most of route on designated cycle paths / minor roads. There are only a few instances where you need to follow or cross main roads.
Suitable for ages 13+ years
Fancy bringing your own bike? Not a problem - you'll even save! Speak to us at booking.

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Untitled design 95 Coal To Keel North East Cycling Tour

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