The Newry Canal Towpath is a linear 20-mile ride starting in Portadown and finishing in Newry. This route takes you mainly via towpaths, along the canal front with a few quiet minor roads.
This beautiful canal was first opened in 1742 to transport coal, but after 200 years of service, and the growing rail network, the canal is now no longer in use.
Along the route, you’ll come across cultural pieces of art commissioned by Sustrans, along with historical and informative signposts about the history of the local area.
Passing through Portadown and onto Scarva, you’ll be close enough to take a short detour to the Terryhoogan Aqueduct. From here you’ll ride past Lough Shark, known for its excellent fishing… no sharks though.
Lastly, you’ll arrive in the beautiful town of Newry where their stunning town hall is something not to be missed.
At both ends of the route, there are easily accessible train stations, allowing you to cycle one way, and train back if you don’t have the time or energy to do the round trip.
If you don’t have all the time in the world, then the lovely China Trail is a great circular 9-mile route, starting and finishing in Stoke City centre.
Despite being a city route, it’s mostly traffic free, but it’s packed with great stopping points and places you’ll need to visit along the way, such as pottery factories, museums and British Heritage sites.
Starting off in Hanley Park, you join cycling Route 5 which offers a mixture of road and off-road cycling. Passing by the Middleport Pottery factory, and local art galleries, there’s plenty of stunning forest areas to stop for a rest and a spot of lunch.