Keelman's Way

A 14 mile cycle and walking route along the south bank
of the River Tyne from Wylam Station to Bill Quay.

The Keelman's Way takes you through a varied landscape with fine riverside views,
you will discover interesting wildlife and local history along the route.

The Keelman's Way is named after the men who rowed the keels up and down the Tyne
carrying coal from the pits down river to the mouth of the Tyne to the waiting colliers
which were too large to navigate the then shallow waters of the River Tyne.

These flat-bottomed vessels could pass under the low bridge that used to stand where
the present Swing Bridge is today. The coal was loaded by hand into the colliers.


Because of the urban nature of this section along the south bank of the River Tyne it follows a
convoluted route in places and can be difficult to follow. Some sections are subject to
change as new housing and the Centre Link bus route projects are developed.

The route is well signed through Gateshead to the boundary with South Tyneside.
From here it continuous as NCN 14 Keelmans Way to end at the South Shields Ferry Landing.
Wylam to Shields Ferry - total distance 21 miles

Full guide notes with sketch maps are provided. These contain information about
landmarks, river crossings and Places of Interest etc.

Cross river links to NCN 72 are also include with links to the Three Rivers website where appropriate.

Virtually dead flat between Wylam and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge,
then some short climbs up and down until the district boundary with South Tyneside.
Approx 25% off road 75% on road or on shared use paths.

The Keelmans Way now continues as NCN 14 to the Shields Ferry Landing, South Shields.

A lone cyclist at Ryton Willows

For detailed guide notes select signs below to start from -

Wylam Station - Down river

Mouth of the River Derwent - Up river

Mouth of the River Derwent - Down river

Bill Quay - Up river