Cycle route from Darlington to Barnard Castle

Start in Croft or Caldwell (near Barnard Castle)

Photo - PH

Reviewed by:
Paul H

Category: Recreation Date: 27/05/2014 Location: Croft-on-Tees, Darlington Tags: W2W, Cycle Route, Darlington, Croft, Caldwell, Barnard Castle

The Croft Hotel

An easy flexible cycle route just outside Darlington. You can go west towards very quiet countryside upstream of the River Tees towards Barnard Castle. Or go east through pretty villages like Hurworth and Neasham heading towards the great North Yorkshire Moors and eventually Whitby.

This section is easy to ride and navigate. It is part of the W2W cycle route. Take a slice out of this W2W Coast to Coast route to see if you like it. Good for beginners and the hardened riders too.  There is one section from behind The Croft Hotel to Cleasby I particularly liked as it was on a very quiet country road where you have the countryside to yourself. (The road to Cleasby section can be good for children, indeed I took my 7 and 10 year old on this stretch).

Start in Darlington: A good option coming from the Darlington side: Start at The Croft Hotel, head towards Northallerton for about 75 meters (This is a busy road so I’d suggest you walk with you bike on the pavement the same side as the hotel then cycle up the hill ) and take the first right up-hill.  You’re on quiet roads now; take the first right at the top, you’re on a flowing country road. Keep going to the 'T' junction Take a right then take the next left. The route is signed 'red box 165' (see the stickers on the sign posts) but the signs are sometimes covered by tall grass.

Now you’re on the loveliest track to Cleasby, wide enough for one or maybe two bikes only – this is my favourite bit. You’ll cross the A1 and end up in Cleasby Village. Take a left through a wood, up a hill. Travel on this country road through Manfield to Eppleby where you’ll find a good village shop and tea room. Then on to Caldwell – that’s 11 miles. You could do it in an hour; I took an hour and a half. If the weather is nice I'd take a few hours and picnic on the way. The best way to ‘do’ this route is to get dropped off at Caldwell and ride downhill to The Croft Hotel tea room. It's downhill because you follow the river Tees downstream so overall it’s slightly down. Try it, you’ll love it. Drinking tea at the end of your trip in the tea room is great. Tea is as good as Bettys – but lacked people when I visited.

Tea room The Croft Hotel:
Loose tea, Ringtons. Nicely presented cup and saucer, tea strainer and cup, pot of tea and a pot of hot water. Old fashioned service. Like liner service. If you like a very good cup of tea, and I mean as good as Betty's of Harrogate, you'll get it here. 

The exceptional waiter called me sir and my fellow lady diners ladies. Although I was slightly wet and wearing a day-glow jacket I was treated with efficient courtecy. Exceptional service here.
Very quiet. Just me at one point. 
Lovely music. 'Living on an island'
Coffee and a cake offer £4.50. Tea was £2.75 - I drank about a litre of it with lots of sugar lumps.
I felt extremely relaxed while I enjoyed my Earl Grey tea and caught up on emails - free Wi-Fi here too.

FUNNY COMMENT: You can cycle this 11 mile section and genuinely tell your friends that you have actually cycled the W2W (not all of it).

FINAL WORD: This is a true green lane cycle experience in a delightful calming authentic area that is little explored compared to the giants like The Lake District, Whitby and the North Yorkshire Moors. Worth a diversion or stop-off if you’re holidaying this way or cycle out to see what doing the coast to coast W2W is like. Free WiFi in the tea room - ALL establishments should have it - well done The Croft Hotel Tea Room.

Reviewer would recommend Cycle route from Darlington to Barnard Castle

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