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Lakeside Way Cycle Trail
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.6/5)

Trail details

Grade of Trail:

  • Moderate

Length of trail:

26 miles

Trail is currently open


Trail description

                               The Lakeside Way multi-user path offers visitors to Kielder Water & Forest Park a truly unique experience giving access to the most scenic parts of the lake shore and the opportunity to get up close to some of Kielder’s abundant wildlife.

The 26-mile path encircles Kielder Water and is suitable for walkers, cyclists (on off-road mountain bikes), horse riders, mobility scooters and wheelchair users.

Some routes incorporate the Osprey ferry (please remember it is vital to check in advance for sailing schedules). Also, the ferry has limited space for bicycles so booking is advised.

The Lakeside Way has a good surface and is excellent for cycling, although some hills may be difficult for younger or less experienced cyclists. It is recommended that people in wheelchairs are accompanied. Horse riders should move at a controlled walking pace only. Visitors using a mobility scooter should ensure batteries are fully charged before setting off. No other motorised vehicles are permitted.

The Lakeside Way is one of England’s finest long distance paths. For those adventurous enough, it can be completed in one visit. If cycling, allow 3-4 hours if you are fit and looking for a good ‘pedal out’. Allow more time if you wish to take in the scenery, have lunch or visit some of the contemporary Art and Architecture along the path. When planning your day out, please always take account of the remoteness of the site and the weather forecast - in this area the weather can rapidly change.

For most people, completion of small sections of trail at each visit is far more relaxing and enjoyable. Shorter route options and links to the local villages of Falstone and Kielder are available. The route incorporates a number of art and architecture pieces including 'Sylvan Capitalis' known locally as 'The Head' and the landmark bridge over Lewisburn inlet.

The south shore is approximately 14 miles in length, stretching from Kielder Dam to Kielder Castle Visitor Centre and including Tower Knowe Visitor Centre and Leaplish Waterside Park.

The Lakeside Way on the north shore of Kielder Water runs from Hawkhope car park at the north end of the dam to Kielder Castle Visitor Centre. The distance is just less than 12 miles. Unlike the south shore, there are no visitor centres along the north shoreline so please be adequately prepared before setting out. Note some of the climbs on the Northshore can be steep and require a decent level of fitness.

The North and South shores at the Kielder village end are connected by a new loop of track at Kielder Viaduct that allows you to access this spectacular 150 year-old skew arched viaduct via the route of the old Border Counties railway line. 

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

What do other visitors say?

4 Stars 4 Stars

Did the Lakeside Way on tuesday in just over 4hours & loved it. We were advised to go anti-clockwise which I think was the best way as the majority of the assents are on the north shore. I did walk up a few of the steeper parts but my partner didnt dismount once! Fantastic ride & will definitely be returning as soon as possible.

Sarah, 13/Jun/2018
2 Stars 2 Stars

After reading the above comments my wife and I decided to give the cycling a go. We set out with the mindset of seeing how far we could get. Well the scenery is lovely I would agree, however the ride for us was far too difficult. We parked at the cafe on South shore and joined the cycle path to ride clockwise. We rode and walked for 5 miles(10 miles total) and had to return back to the cafe. The cycling experience for me was you are either climbing or descending on the paths, there was never a flat track. Some of the hills are really steep and had to be walked but even this was exhausting. If you are reading this and are moderately fit then this is a challenging bike ride, so be prepared. If you are anything like the cycling Pro's in the above comments then you will love it. I just want others to go into this with another perspective before considering this cycling experience.

Alan, 8/Apr/2018
5 Stars 5 Stars

Cycled the trail on my mountain bike. Nice sunny evening with dry path most of way round. The view are stunning. really enjoyed this. Took 2hrs 45 mins. I think next time, if the weather conditions are the same, I will do this on my cross bike (with drop bars) as it would comfortably handle this trail. I also think I may stop for longer periods to take in the views and possibly make a day of it!

Anonymous, 3/Sep/2017
More user comments

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What's Here?

  • Cycling
  • Cycling Hire
  • Cycle wash
  • Dogs
  • Gradient (moderate)
  • Information
  • Picnic
  • Walking
  • Viewpoint
  • Arts
  • A number of art features are on the Lakeside Way, including Robin's Hut, Sylvan Capitalis, Salmon Cubes, Freya's Cabin, Janus Chairs, Belvedere, 55/02 and The Wave Chamber.
  • Boat launch
  • Osprey ferry picks up and puts down passengers at various jetties around the lake. Contact NWL on 01434 251000 for details.
  • Cafe
  • Various eating establishments to choose from, including Duke's Pantry, Falstone Tearoom, Tower Knowe and Leaplish Waterside Park. Note that between Kielder Castle and Falstone (14 miles) there is no cafe facility.
  • Camping
  • Kielder Campsite and Lepalish Waterside Park
  • Caravan Site
  • Leaplish Waterside Park
  • Parking (chargeable)
  • 4 all day, valid in all car parks. Parkign available at Hawkhope, Kielder Dam, Tower Knowe, Leaplish, Matthews Linn and Kielder Castle.
  • Telephone
  • Public phone boxes at major centres. Please note mobile reception poor or non-existant for most of the route.
  • Visitor centre
  • Visitor Centres at Kielder castle, Leaplish Waterside Park and Tower Knowe.
  • Toliets
  • At Kielder Castle, Hawkhope Car Park (Kielder Dam), Tower Knowe, Leaplish and Matthew's Linn
  • Wildlife
  • Wildlife Hides at Leaplish Waterside Park and Bakethin Reservoir
More about what's here


OS Grid ref: NY632934
Postcode: NE48 1ER

Get directions


Kielder Castle

01434 250209

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