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Newcastle-Under-Lyme – Norton-in-Hales, Staffordshire

This is one of my favourite local road rides which includes lots of scenic country lanes and charming villages. The start of the ride takes us along the former stoke-market drayton line which is now a dedicated cycle lane.

Generally the surface of this lane is quite smooth, however there is a short, slightly rougher section towards the end of the lane which requires a bit more care on a road bike with 23/25mm tyres.

Route Guide

As we exit the cycle lane the road then gradually climbs out of Silverdale. We then have a fun, fast descent for approximately 1 mile before joining the main road. The road then continues downhill and heads out of the busy Newcastle borough into the countryside.

On reaching Wrinehill we take a sharp left down a quiet country lane and under a bridge. After the bridge there is a short steep incline before it levels off into a series of enjoyable, undulating descents and climbs. We continue on this road for approximately 3 miles with pleasant views across the fields and surrounding countryside.

Eventually we join a main road where the route heads west. The road undulates and meanders before reaching a short steep incline and passes through the pretty village of Hankelow.

We then continue on a enjoyable gradual descent into the little charming village of Audlem. There is a small, well equipped bike shop right in the village centre which is very handy incase you have any mechanical difficulties.

We head left at the junction where the road begins to gradually climb out of the village, at the top of the incline we take a right turn towards Kinsey Heath. The route then continues along this pleasant, quiet country lane. At the crossroads we follow the sign to Norton-in-Hales and join part of the National Cycling Network route 75.

As you would expect from a designated cycle route this section of the ride is very enjoyable with virtually no traffic. To begin with the gradient is either flat or slightly downhill so you can cruise along at a nice pace.

However, after a couple of miles the road begins to gradually climb and kicks up quite steeply as you pass a large farm on your left. As you come over the top of the climb you begin a long fast descent into the very pretty village of Norton in Hales. There is a nice seating area in the very centre of the village and a pub for emergency food/water supplies.

We then take a left and make our way out of the village along Bearstone Road. This is another very enjoyable section of the route with views across the fields either side of the road and very little traffic. Towards the end of the road is a section with tall, hedgerows either side which climbs up and sweeps round a tight bend.

I always enjoy this climb because you are able to generate and carry up quite a bit of speed, so it almost feels like you are flying up the hill. At the top of the climb the road flattens out and comes to a crossroads. We go straight over the main road and continue on Bearstone Road before eventually joining the A51 just outside Pipe Gate.

Although this is a relatively busy road, due to the flat gradient you are able to keep up a good pace and so you won’t be on it for very long. As we turn off the A51 and head towards Newcastle the road climbs up for about a mile. Once over the top there is an exhilirating, fast descent into Baldwins Gate. After leaving the village there is a descent down to some crossroads, there are several ways of getting back to Newcastle from here but for this particular route I will be continuing on up Whitmore Road.

The road kicks up to about 5/6% at the beginning before gradually easing off as you reach the small roundabout. We then enjoy a really fast descent for about a mile before it flattens out for a few hundred yards and then begins to climb again. After the last climb of the day it’s all downhill back to the start in Newcastle.

Please note: I prefer not to show my exact home address in my routes so the Map and GPX route will begin and end as you reach the outskirts of Newcastle, you can start this route from anywhere within Newcastle.

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