National Byway

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An international cycling map created from OSM data is available, provided by Andy Allan. The map rendering is still being improved, the data are updated every few days. It shows National Cycle Network cycle routes, other regional and local routes, and other cycling-specific features, such as:
  • dedicated cycle tracks and lanes
  • contours and hill colouring
  • bicycle parking
  • bike shops, toilets, drinking fountains, even pubs!
  • proposed bike routes (or numbering protocols), contrasted with the Lonvia map, below, which does not show proposed routes, but actual routes only

CyclOSM A free cycle-oriented map with more features than OpenCycleMap. See its wiki page CyclOSM.
Waymarked Trails: Cycling by Sarah Hoffman is a layer superimposed over mapnik (Standard Map Layer) which shows marked cycle routes around the world. Updated minutely, it renders actual routes without the state=proposed tag. Therefore no proposed routes (or proposed numbering protocols) are displayed.
An example National Byway signpost
National Byway sign at a road junction
National byway sign.jpg

The National Byway (Wikipedia) is a signed, de facto leisure cycling route in the United Kingdom, mostly along quiet lanes and avoiding cities. As of April 2011, no Internet mapping of the National Byway was available, only an (as yet incomplete) set of paper maps. This is therefore a great opportunity for OpenStreetMap to provide such a map.


The ways which make up the National Byway should be tagged using relations. Do not tag the ways directly.

There is one or more route relation for each region of the National Byway, and a separate relation for each signed loop. The size of each relation is currently restricted by what can reasonably be worked with - initially the National Byway was created a a single relation for the UK, but that soon became too large to manage.

Each route relation should be tagged as:

Tag Comment
ref=NB Will display as a route label on the CycleMap.
name=National Byway (region) Include the name of the National Byway region.
operator=National Byway

Relation role

The National Byway is keen on loops and circular rides, and in many instances these are signed in one direction only, generally anti-clockwise to reduce the number of right turns in the loop. It's difficult to follow signs backwards, so it is important for cyclists that the one-way sections of the National Byway are tagged correctly. Where the National Byway is signed in one direction only, the ways in the relation should be assigned a role of forward or backward as described in Relation:route#Members. The direction is rendered on the OpenCycleMap at zoom level 14 and greater.

Other optional tags are listed at Cycle routes#Relations.

Historical note

An earlier proposal was to tag the National Byway as network=national_byway, in conjunction with specific rendering in the OpenCycleMap, which was never implemented. The current tagging as a set of regional cycle routes network=rcn is now preferred: see [1] et seq. for the rationale.


One can see the 'outline map' at the National Byway website: [2].

Relation'd sections

Sections that have been mapped already include:

Description (organised by National Byway region) Relation Notes
Ayrshire, Argyll and Bute
(none yet)
East of England
Cambridgeshire: South of Cambridge relation 935883 marked on the development diagram (on the N.B. site) as 'being signed'
Near Ely relation 975860
East Midlands
Lincolnshire relation 1425075 very incomplete
Nottinghamshire relation 1818743 very incomplete
the Rutland area relation 943883 large sections have been completed, but certain locales need attending-to
North-East England
County Durham and Northumberland relation 1205886
section around Kielder Forest
North-West England
(none yet)
South-East and South-Central England
Oxfordshire and Glos—Northleach to Witney
Dornford Lane (near Woodstock) to Buckinghamshire border
relation 1251898
Buckinghamshire relation 1251894
Bedfordshire relation 1251895
South-West England
Several disconnected sections:
  • Wiltshire: north of Salisbury
  • Hampshire/Wiltshire: between Stockbridge and Fordingbridge
  • Somerset: between Wells and Castle Cary
  • Dorset: between Shaftesbury and Cashmoor
relation 1206000
South-West Scotland
the Solway Firth area relation 943956
West Midlands
Shropshire relation 943940 relation'd between Attingham Park and the southern outskirts of Whitchurch
Shropshire: Shrewsbury to Leominster, then… — relation 943913
Herefordshire: …towards (and slightly beyond) Ledbury — relation 943894
West Herefordshire: route to Wales relation 2553508 Link route and the Herefordshire section of the Radnor Ring
from Humber Bridge to the northern end of the Yorkshire region at Barnard Castle relation 9327


To tag National Byway loops, create a new relation with the tags as above, and use the name of the loop, e.g. name=National Byway (Oakham Loop); consult this page on the National Byway site for a list of loops. Remember that loops are usually signed in one direction only.

Loops that have already been fully/partially mapped are as follows:

Loop (organised by National Byway region) Relation Notes
East Midlands
Retford Loop
Newark / Southwell Loop relation 1425019
Grantham Loop relation 2070390
Oakham Loop relation 9333
Oundle Loop
North-East England
Hexham Loop relation 2052657
South-East and South-Central England
Bernwood Forest Loop relation 34610
South-West England
Charleton Horethorne(?) Loop relation 1355711
Tisbury Loop relation 1570469 Perhaps some signs have been removed or turned round? The route is difficult to follow.
Winchester (East) Loop relation 2947208 complete
South-West Scotland
Dumfries Loop
Ayr Loop
Girvan Loop
West Midlands
Malpas Loop
Shrewsbury Loop
Much Wenlock Loop
Church Stretton Loop relation 5522776
Ledbury Loop relation 444340 complete
Winchcombe Loop
Holderness Loop relation 47904 There is a break in the loop where the road has been washed over a cliff but it is passable on foot.
Bridlington Loop relation 225396
Driffield Loop
Malton Loop relation 177547
Easingwold Loop relation 158475
Ripon Loop relation 179064 Ripon is poorly mapped.
Bedale Loop relation 179065

See also

  • the National Byway website: [3]
  • Wikipedia article on the National Byway: [4]