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Cross Border Trail
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.7/5)

Trail details

Grade of Trail:

  • Difficult

Length of trail:

30 miles

Trail is currently open

Upcoming closures to trails (three notices):,

Trail is currently open

From 12 March for up to five months, the Cross Border route to Newcastleton through Bloody Bush (Scottish side) will be closed for timber harvesting operations. Both outbound and return route will be via Scotch Knowe (follow diversions)

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 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?

4 Stars 4 Stars

I spent a few days planning a loop of the cross border trail as the information available online is pretty poor. But the planning was worth it and we rode a superb 29 mile loop in beautiful weather today... So, first and most important point... The trail is way-marked at regular intervals for its entire length. So easy to follow....but if you're wanting more than a long fire-road ride in fabulous surroundings, it's best to mix in parts of the red trails at both Kielder and Newcastleton.. Our lap was as follows... From Lewisburn car park, head up the bloody bush road the The Forks. Just after the stone bridge there's a red trail arrow which takes you up hill to join the lonesome pine trail... Turn left at the top and follow the fire road arrows to Simon's Tester. That's followed by Capon Hassock and the steep climb up to the Northshore. Once at the t-junction, turn left and follow the bloody bush trail all the way to the pillar at the border crossing. Cross into Scotland, over the brow of the hill and then down pretty loose-packed fire road until the sharp left turn which is clearly marked with a purple arrow sign... Again, head downhill towards the Newcastleton trail centre which, if still equipped with amenities, disguises that fact rather well. At the entrance to the centre, there's a purple border crossing sign.... Ignore this and continue until you see red trail for the hidden valley... Take this trail all the way to the fire road the bottom , ignoring another purple sign head off left halfway down... Once at the foot of the trail, turn left and you will soon rejoin the purple signed cross border trail... Although, it's a long ride up to and along the border, it's nowhere near as steep and arduous as the Kielder side of the climb... Cross the bridge into England and tick off the final climb of the day before heading down 5 remaining miles of fire road back to the car park. Garmin clocked 3:05 moving time and a total of 3:40... A great ride, mixing trail centre single track and fire roads to best effect. I hope this description saves you some research time!!

Phil, 17/Sep/2016
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

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What's Here?

  • Cycling Hire
  • Cycle wash
  • Gradient (moderate)


OS Grid ref: NY632934
Postcode: NE48 1ER

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01434 250209

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