The National Cycle Network is a network of cycle routes in the United Kingdom and is managed by the charity Sustrans. Currently spanning 13,400 miles it was officially created in 1995 and now passes within one mile of half the population, over 338 million trips were made using it in 2006.
National Routes 1, 11, 13, 16 & 51 all come through Essex.
The network is signposted using a white bicycle symbol on a blue background, with a white route number in an inset box but no destination names or distances given. National Route numbers have a red background and Regional Route numbers have a blue background. The system of symbols is based on that used by the Danish Cycle Network.
Many routes hope to minimise contact with motor traffic, though 70% of them are on roads. In some cases the NCN uses pedestrian routes, disused railways, minor roads, canal towpaths, or traffic calmed routes in towns and cities. Some places have more off-road paths than others - Stoke-on- Trent, for instance, uses canal towpaths and its old mineral/passenger railway network to provide over 100 miles (160 km) of off-road paths through the city.
Information about the National Cycle Network can be found here and more information about what Sustrans has been doing in Essex here.