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Cross Border Trail
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.3/5)

Trail details

Grade of Trail:

  • Difficult

Length of trail:

30 miles

Trail is currently open


Trail description


The Cross-Border Trail into Scotland gives cyclists an alternative to the Bloody Bush MTB trail and links in with the Lakeside Way, but it can also be accessed from the picnic area at Lewisburn.

From Lewisburn, the best direction to ride the trail is anti-clockwise, following the old Bloodybush toll road, climbing past open ground, a quarry and over the Buck Burn. The trail runs alongside a recently felled area on the left and becomes a grassy track, before reaching the old Bloody Bush Toll Pillar, which is steeped in history and well worth reading the fees that once long ago you would have had to pay at the border. Here you get spectacular views of the Liddesdale valley and the Scottish Border Hills come into view before the trail joins the forest road which plunges down through conifers. Look out for the sharp left off the main forest road.

The route undulates with several long descents until reaching Dykecrofts, the trailhead for the Newcastleton 7stanes trails.  Toilets are available here and it's just a short 10 min pedal down the hill to Newcastleton village which has cafes, shops and accomodation. 

For the return leg to Kielder the route climbs away from the trailhead, skirts along the side of the Skills Area then follows forest roads to the Border stane.  Turning right here the route heads away from the other waymarked mtb routes at Newcastleton and towards Kershope Burn.  A long very gradual climb alongside the burn follows to reach Scotch Knowe, the crossing point into England and the final part of the route back to the Kielder trailhead.

As with all trails in Kielder, please be fully prepared for riding in remote environments and come properly equipped. The weather can change rapidly and small equipment failures can quickly turn into a more serious situation. Always let somebody know where you are going and when you are due back.

Overview map of ALL Kielder's 100 miles of trails (download pdf here).

What do other visitors say?

5 Stars 5 Stars

23 of us rode this route as part of the UK Mountain Bike Conference on October 17th 2015.

We had a fantastic time, the trail is not easy, but what a range of singletrack, wilderness riding and the finishing off on excellent singletrack in Kielder before getting to Kielder.

It is an epic day out and just fantastic ever changing landscape and trails. Only downside was the lack of maintenance on the Newcastleton 7stanes trails, bad wheel stopping pot holes throughout.

mtb rider , 20/Oct/2015
5 Stars 5 Stars

It is now a few years ago that Peter Phillips and I took this ride to attend the Enduro event at Kielder. Alas Peter had a nasty crash however he still managed to ride the return trail to Newcastleton singlehandedly on his Kona. A year or so later Pete, Levi and I established Bikeseven. The rest is proving to be an exciting history. CHEERS Pete!

Daan van Belzen, 19/Oct/2015
3 Stars 3 Stars

Unless you're going to drop into Scotland via the Bloody Bush Trail then you're far better off doing the Cross Border Ride clockwise - that way you get the biggest climb up to the mast on fire road and the long descent past the pillar on single track (why slog your guts out on single track for a forest road descent) back down to Lewisburn (and you can pick up some of the red route on the way). You need to look out for the signage a bit more this way.

On the Lewisburn to Scotch Knowe stretch the FC have destroyed the single track descent which used to be a nice little stretch.

Mac, 17/Jun/2015
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What's Here?

  • Cycling Hire
  • Cycle wash
  • Gradient (moderate)


OS Grid ref: NY632934
Postcode: NE48 1ER

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Kielder Castle

01434 250209

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England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.