National Cycle Network

National Cycle Network
The NCN on OpenStreetMap.
The first section of the NCN to be built was the Bristol & Bath Railway Path, opened in 1984.

The National Cycle Network is a network of cycle routes in the United Kingdom.

The National Cycle Network was created by the charity Sustrans (Sustainable Transport), and aided by a £42.5 million National Lottery grant. In 2005 it was used for over 230 million trips.

Many routes hope to minimise contact with motor traffic, though 70% of them are on roads. In some cases the NCN uses pedestrian routes, disused railways, minor roads, canal towpaths, or traffic-calmed routes in towns and cities. Some places have more off-road paths than others - Stoke-on-Trent, for instance, uses canal towpaths and its old mineral/clay railway network to provide over 100 miles (160 km) of off-road paths through the city.


Total national mileage

The original goal was to create 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of signed cycle routes by 2005[citation needed], with 50% of these not being on roads, and all of it being "suitable for an unsupervised twelve year old." By mid 2000 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of route were signposted to an "interim" standard, and a new goal was then set to double that to 10,000 miles (16,000 km) by 2005. August 2005 saw the completion of that goal. As of mid-2011, the total stands at 13,000 miles (21,000 km) of signed cycle route at NCN standard.[citation needed]

Numbering system

National Cycle Network routes beginning with numbers 1 to 6 are generally in England, while those beginning with 7 start in the far north of England and Scotland. Those beginning with 8 are generally in Wales, and 9 in Northern Ireland. The main routes have one digit (1 to 6 radiate clockwise from the south of England). Other NCN routes have two digits, starting with the number of the relevant main route.

There are also many regional routes, reaching smaller towns and cities within ten designated regions. Each region is divided into a maximum of 9 areas. Regional route numbers comprise the area number 1 to 9, followed by another digit. (An exception is in the Scottish Borders council area, where the regional routes are numbered 1 to 9.) This means that across the UK there could be 10 regional route 12s, for instance, as well as the national route 12. To reduce confusion, identically numbered areas in adjacent regions do not abut, and so routes with the same number are widely separated.

As of 2009, regional routes are being renumbered with 3-digit national numbers.[1]

Routes are occasionally numbered to match the names of major roads and motorways which connect the same destinations; examples of this practice include the NCN Route 62, which by connecting the two sides of the Pennines mirrors the M62 motorway.


The network is signposted using a white bicycle symbol on a blue background, with a white route number in an inset box but no destination names or distances given. National Route numbers have a red background, Regional Route numbers have a blue background. The system of symbols is based on that used by the Danish Cycle Network.


1000 Millennium cast iron mileposts funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland to mark the creation of the National Cycle Network, and found along the cycles routes through the UK. There are four different types of posts, "Fossil Tree" (designed by John Mills), "The Cockerel" (designed by Iain McColl), Rowe Type by Andrew Rowe, and "Tracks" (designed by David Dudgeon). The four artists are from each country of the UK, though all posts can be found in all four countries.[2] [3]

Main routes

See also


Further reading

  • Sustrans, 2002. The Official Guide To The National Cycle Network, 2nd ed. Italy: Canile & Turin. ISBN 1-901389-35-9.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • List of National Cycle Network routes — This is a list of routes on Sustrans s National Cycle Network. Sections planned or under development are shown in brackets.Primary routes*1: Dover Shetland Islands, along the east coast, via London, Edinburgh, John o Groats and the Orkney Islands …   Wikipedia

  • (the) National Cycle Network — the National Cycle Network [the National Cycle Network] about 10 000 miles/16 000 kilometres of cycling and walking routes in Britain which are managed by local organizations and coordinated by the transport charity ↑Sustrans. A third of the… …   Useful english dictionary

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  • National Cycle Route 6 — (or NCR 6) is a route of the National Cycle Network, running from London to the Lake District. Contents 1 Route 1.1 London to Derby 1.2 Derby to Penistone 1.3 …   Wikipedia

  • National Cycle Route 20 — at Tilgate Forest, near Crawley, West Sussex National Cycle Route 20 is part of the United Kingdom s National Cycle Network. It runs from Crawley in Sussex southwards to Brighton. In future, the route will also connect northwards to London star …   Wikipedia

  • National Cycle Route 75 — runs from Edinburgh to Gourock via Glasgow. It is often known as the Clyde to Forth cycle route. Contents 1 Route 1.1 Edinburgh to Bathgate 1.2 Bathgate to Glasgow …   Wikipedia

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