Whether you are coming via Edmundbyers Common or Stanhope, you wil shortly be passing the 100 mile point stamping station at the Bike Stop at the start of the Waskerley Way. You can get spares and repairs here, or tea and cake. And it’s all down hill from here. This is a pleasant and easy section of the route, past Muggleswick Common, Waskerley and Smiddy Shaw reservoirs, fol owed by a quick canter into Park Head Plantation near Bee Cottage, and down to the A68. Beyond here is the magnificent Hownsgil Viaduct, which carried the Stanhope and Tyne Railway Line, Britain’s first commercial railway route. There are great views from here across sweeping tracts of deciduous forest and undulating landscape, on the edge of an area that was once the embodiment of heavy British industry. The pathway is dotted with imaginative Sustrans signage and sculptures cast from industrial relics. Just before Consett are the Terris Novalis sculptures, which overlook the 700-acre site of what was once the mighty Consett Steelworks. The Turner prize winning works – a stainless steel theodolite and an engineer’s level by Tony Cragg – are nearly 7m tal , are 20 times life size, and symbolise regeneration in an area convulsed by the death of heavy industry towards the end of the last century. The art works were commissioned by Sustrans and will stand as a monument to this admirable body long after the combustion engine has coughed its last.

“The work sited at Consett marks the watershed between the upland/ moorland landscape and the extremes of the Industrial Age,” says the Sustrans website. “Local people see this landmark as a monument to the scale of local industry and its demise – the tragedy that has followed.”

Places of Interest

Phileas Fogg – alias Derwent Val ey Foods Factory. You wil smell it before you see it. Shotley Bridge is an old spa town, well-known for German sword-makers in the 17th century.

C2C Features: dotted along the line are story-boards set on vertical sleepers which interpret the history of the railway. These are chapters taken from a novel, The Celestial Railroad, by John Downie.

Cycle Shops

Consett Cycle Co, 62 Medomsley Rd 01207 581205

Useful Services

The Bike Bus, The Bus Station, Stanley, Co Durham DH9 0TD

Cyclist and bike transport specialists. Transport throughout the UK and size of group no object. Very competitive rates. 01207 237424 /