Whether you want to enjoy stunning scenery, get a breath of fresh air or push yourself to the limit – Durham is your destination.
With cycling and walking opportunities for all ages and abilities, routes will take you through breathtaking landscapes in the Durham Dales, along the dramatic Durham Heritage Coast, past award-winning attractions in the Vale of Durham and through the history and heritage of Durham City.
Grassholme Reservoir, in the lovely undulating pastures of Upper Teesdale in the Durham Dales, is the perfect spot for a day out. There's something for all the family: a four-mile path around the water’s edge, a nature reserve, picnic area, and thousands of trout, just waiting to be hooked out of the water.
The rare wild flowers and birds, alluring beaches, easy links from the coast to the nearby villages and an attractive location for a scenic, if often refreshingly bracing, maritime hike: the Durham Heritage Coast, winners of the UK Landscape Award in 2010.
One of Durham’s most popular rural attractions is Hamsterley Forest which is managed by the Forestry Commission. A thousand acres of woodland, streams, sloping valleys and high plateau between Teesdale and Weardale in the Durham Dales, in the heart of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a landscape of vast heather-clad moorlands, contrasting with dramatic dales; upland meadows, many of which contain rare wild plants; rushing streams and waterfalls and picturesque stone-built villages and small towns.
Durham's coastline calls somewhere else to mind. But where? There's a slice of Cornwall here, a bite of South Wales there. It's hard to put your finger on it, but I'm struck by its bewildering prettiness.
For most of its length, the Wear takes a north-easterly course through Durham. But towards the end of its wend, the river swerves west and south to loop around an outcrop – like a finger clawing at the Ordnance Survey map
Leaning back on a log, I inhale a lungful of pine-scented air. Beneath this dense canopy, the forest seems almost eerie in its stillness, until a mountain-biker wearing a full-face helmet explodes out of the trees and leaps half a metre into the air.
Durham has a host of accommodation options which provide facilities for cyclists and walkers. Here are a few highlights.