Duke of Wellington junction
The junction by the Duke of Wellington has a number of issues. The only official cycling provision is the shared-use pavement on the east side of the A167, with a toucan crossing over Potters Bank. No provision has been made for cyclists to safely leave or join this path at the junction: it is as though no-one is expected to cycle on Potters Bank or Lowes Barn Bank, but in fact these roads are also well-used by cyclists.
The photograph shows the sign at the south-east corner of the crossroads, with the cycle-route pointing you to Consett and Bishop Auckland. The sign points you to the toucan crossing in order to continue north up the A167, past Neville's Cross junction to join NCN 70 at Tollhouse Road. Of course, a cyclist with local knowledge going to Bishop Auckland would never choose to go this way: instead you would go west, down Lowes Barn Bank, to join NCN 70 at the Broompark picnic area off Broom Lane. This cuts about a mile from the journey, as well as several awkward road crossings. The sign just doesn't take account of the road and cycle-path network!
Another issue is the timing of the traffic light phases when coming out of Lowes Barn Bank. This has been reported to the Council via FixMyStreet: http://www.fixmystreet.com/report/393775
If you observe the lights from the pavement, it is quite clear that cyclists are given insufficient time from the Lowes Barn Bank lights changing to red before the lights on the A167 go green.
One possible solution here would be a Dutch-style "green phase" where pedestrian crossings all go green and additional cycle-only lights on all approach roads go green as well. This would allow cyclists to turn safely, join and leave the shared-use paths, etc., without suffering conflicting movements from cars. Pedestrians would be able to cross diagonally in one go if needed. Reducing the speed limit on the A167 would also help: the pavements alongside the A167 are used by children going to local schools and the park.
The junction itself could do with the corners tightening to reduce the design speed of the junction and make it safer for vulnerable road users. Other options include making Lowes Barn Bank a non-through-road for motor vehicles or banning lorries from using it. This would allow the stop line to be brought much closer to the junction. The satellite view of the junction is quite illuminating: see how much road space is devoted to making this junction fast: http://goo.gl/maps/puQ56
The A167 is one lane in each direction in the sections to the north and south of the junction, but widens to three lanes south approaching the lights, and three lanes north. The need to have high-speed throughput of vehicles at the junction must be balanced against the safety and convenience of pedestrians and cyclists who are most vulnerable at major junctions like this.