Route guides

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Mountain

Trails of Sowerby

Posted on Feb 24, 2016 at 14:24 PM by andy.geall79

This route starts in the emerging cycling town of Sowerby Bridge, more businesses in the area have recently become cycle friendly and the opening of Happy Days Cycle Café and Bike Shop will give the town a cycling boost.

Sowerby Bridge isn’t commonly known for off road trails in Calderdale but there are plenty of hidden gems above the town to explore. The route begins with a steady spin along the valley floor to warm the legs up before the first climb of the day Calderdale off Road Climb 40, ‘Hollas Bridge to Norland Town. To be completely honest this is one tough climb with ever changing features. The bottom section of the climb can often have a stream flowing and beyond that a mix of rock sizes can hinder your progress. To top things off this climb is narrow and brutally steep until you reach the cobbled sets to the quiet country road.

As you continue to climb on the country roads the route reaches the flat lands surrounding Norland Moor. The moor itself popular with mountain bikers has recently been under the spotlight regarding its use and because there is no definitive cycling over the moor our route will be bypassing this unique landscape.

From Norland Moor the route plunges downhill linking back into the bridleway network and the old track bed of Sowerby Bridge to Ripponden Train Line (1878 to 1958). Rumour has it that it was the most expensive railway ever built in the country at the time, today it is popular with mountain bikers and walkers as it cuts through the landscape. The track bed depending on the time of year can be a real muddy hack or fast flowing in sections in the dryer months.

At Kebroyd the route climbs up out the valley to the quiet area of Soyland and beyond. From this point this entire hillside is littered with bridleways and our route picks its path over a multitude of terrain with surrounding views.

At around 20km you hit the descent of Stake Lane (Calderdale off Road Climb 9) in reverse. We think this is one of the best short descents in the area, steep, technical and challenging. This descent takes you into the small village of Mytholmroyd which is a good place to refuel.

The final part of the route follows the valley floor as you simply spin through the flat land of Calderdale back to Sowerby Bridge.

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Mountain

The Todmorden Packhorse

Posted on Feb 19, 2016 at 09:36 AM by andy.geall79

​The Todmorden Packhorse

The Todmorden Packhorse mountain bike ride only ventures 11km away from the town centre at its furthest point, but covers over 25km of terrain packing a punch and stamping its authority as a quality natural route.

The route begins in the town centre of Todmorden which boasts the steepest hills of all the Calderdale towns in our opinion and proves its worth from the off taking on ‘Pexwood Packhorse’ Calderdale off Road Climb 21. The climb is super steep and technical with the elevation gain surprising as you look down into the valley floor and admire the historic railway and canal architecture.

After the first big climb of the day the route picks up quiet country lanes and bridleways before linking into the restoration project of Flower Scar Road. This road hugs the skyline and offers some epic views on a good day down the Calder Valley. Riding through this section of the route is fast rolling and this continues as you descend to the little village of Portsmouth. The final part of the descent will put a smile on the face of those who like it steep with technical features.

The road breaks away from the trail briefly and follows the A646 west before heading off road up a mix of bridleway and track to the huge windmills at the wind farm situated off The Long Causeway. This is one of the areas high points and the views on a clear day can be spectacular from dawn to dusk as the light impacts the land.

The true packhorse adventure begins at this point as the route descends on a short road section before linking into 4.5km of flowing packhorse trail. This part of the route hugs the side of the valley and gradually descends overall although there are a few points where the route kicks up. Depending on the time of year and recent rainfall this part of the route can be fast and flowing or a technical hack, both of which rides extremely well all year round.

The final descent on this ride is one of our personal favourites here at Cycle Calderdale and begins shortly after you leave the golf club and head up the tarmac. The first part features a fast farm track style bridleway to the rural road network, before taking a hard left along some woodland single track to a hidden hamlet. From this point you pick your way through the old stone buildings and descend a technical bridleway that traverses till you reach the car park at the bottom.

Head back to Todmorden on the main road and sample what the town has to offer.

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Mountain

Land Of Two Counties

Posted on Feb 16, 2016 at 15:12 PM by andy.geall79

​Land Of Two Counties

This ride starts in the Upper Calder Valley town of Todmorden and dips two wheels firmly in the counties of Yorkshire & Lancashire. Featuring 5 challenging climbs of mixed terrain and variety of natural trails this mid distance mountain bike route is superb.

The best time of year to
ride this route is in spring or summer or when there’s a ground frost.The majority of the terrain up to Warland Reservoir is hard packed and traction is good. However from Warland Reservoir to White Holme Reservoir the permissive path is made up of natural peat. This section when firm under the knobbly tyres offers some of the best natural and flat single track in the area, covering over 5km the narrow path will keep you guessing.

Prior to the section above the route features a healthy slice of the Mary Towneley Loop a circular route that makes up part of the Pennine Bridleway National Trail. The Calderdale sections of the MTL follow the cobbled sets of the old packhorse routes and the Lancashire sections offer a challenge of moorland and rocky terrain.

Fast forward downhill on the road descent to Cragg Vale village and the gateway to Withens Clough. The route climbs steadily compared to some of the ascents in Calderdale and on a clear day the views at the top are excellent with Stoodley Pike in the back drop. The route ends with some fun

descents down the super steep cobbled sets to Mankinholes and then again through the woodland of Height Wood. Just before the river crossing into Height Wood there is a technical rocky section that seems to change as the loose rocks move around on the trail floor, aim to get to the gate without ‘dapping’.

Relax on the towpath back to Todmorden and sample what the town has to offer. You may want to take a short detour at the end of the ride to check out the Cycle Factory Bike Shop.

Route Status: Hard Red

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Mountain

MTB Great Descents Ride

Posted on Dec 01, 2015 at 11:32 AM by andy.geall79

MTB Great Descents Ride

Starting at the cycle friendly Stubbing Wharf Pub Hebden Bridge this short mountain bike ride features some of the best descents in the area. This route is hilly compared to some of the other popular mountain bike locations in England and effort on the climbs is rewarded on the descents.

This ride features four great descents three of which will put a guaranteed smile on your face and offer experienced mountain bikers a good technical challenge. The first is located in the Ragley area and is a reserve of off road climb No 24. This descent is made up of single track, loose rock and twisting corners and can feature shallow streams in parts. The top of the descent is open to nature before you head into the wooded section and the foot of the descent. Before you take on the first descent of the day it is worth stopping at Mays Farm Shop to enjoy a brew and some cake or simply restock the energy levels from an establishment that sells pretty much everything.

As we mentioned earlier climbs are earned and the ‘Blue Pig’ descent is no different. The first part of the climb up to Hepstonstall village is tricky before you ride over the cobbled streets. The ‘Blue Pig’ begins with some smooth single track that features a few stepped drop offs before heading down a steep fire road. Take care at this point as the route crosses a road before entering the more technical part of this descent that features a number of obstacles including large rocks, sets, mini rock gardens and large stepped drop offs. This descent truly has a bit of everything and keeps you thinking throughout.

At this point you have reached Hardcastle Crags and there is a mini challenge on offer in the form of a very short but technical climb that cuts through the woodland, clear this in one and be proud of your efforts. For those who simply want to roll up at a leisurely pace the road rolls up on a parallel route.

Following a few miles of gradual Calderdale climbing you reach the descent down to Grain Water Bridge. We wouldn’t describe this as a classic but it’s certainly open fast and flowing. This descent is also off road climb No 30 in reverse.

From Grainwater Bridge you can take things easy as you spin along Haworth Old Road before joining the A6033. This section of road rolls quite quickly even on a mountain bike and it’s easy to miss the entrance to ‘Mini Stoodley’ descent which cuts right off the road down a steep packhorse trail into the woodland. There is a slight climb as you cross the river before entering a technical rutted stone bridleway that twists and turns back down to Hardcastle Crags. If we had a £1 for every rider that said that was brilliant we be rich folk at cycle Calderdale.

Completing the ride you simply roll out of the ‘crags’ on the road and merge with the A6033 and descend to the town of Hebden Bridge to enjoy one of the many cafes or pubs. The best way to ride back to the start is to head west on the canal towpath that takes you directly back to the Stubbing Wharf Pub.

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Family

The Really Big Cycle Guide West

Posted on Nov 04, 2015 at 13:27 PM by andy.geall79

​Inner Cyclist have been busy at work throughout the summer of 2015 to create two ‘Really Big Cycle Guides’. To keep things simple we split Calderdale in half and produced a East and West cycle guide. The cycle guides are aimed at families and beginners and explore the valley floor routes of Calderdale.

The West Guide

The west guide features a large map from Warland to Sowerby Bridge and mini maps and features on Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Luddedenfoot and Cragg Vale Coiners. This guide also features the areas points of interest so why not have a break from pedaling and explore what Calderdale has to offer.

Download The West Guide

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Family

The Really Big Cycle Guide East

Posted on Nov 04, 2015 at 12:47 PM by andy.geall79

​Inner Cyclist have been busy at work throughout the summer of 2015 to create two ‘Really Big Cycle Guides’. To keep things simple we split Calderdale in half and produced a East and West cycle guide. The cycle guides are aimed at families and beginners and explore the valley floor routes of Calderdale.

The East Guide

The east guide features a large map from Warland to Sowerby Bridge and mini maps and features on Sowerby Bridge, Near Halifax, Salter Hebble, Elland, Brighouse and Outdoor Activities. This guide also features the areas points of interest so why not have a break from pedaling and explore what Calderdale has to offer.

Download The East Guide

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Family

Exploring The Lower Valley

Posted on Nov 03, 2015 at 09:38 AM by andy.geall79

Starting in the heart of Brighouse this 8.9km route follows the Calder & Hebble Navigation to the outskirts of Sowerby Bridge. There is plenty of wildlife on route and a nature reserve at Cromwell Bottom. The route boasts a number of standard and unique lock gates and features some stunning architecture. At Salterhebble Basin look for the canal, road, railway and river passing over and under each other.

This route is ideal for families and beginners, cycling from Brighouse to the outskirts of Sowerby Bridge and back will cover 17.8km with a few very short inclines at the lock gates. There are options on the route to branch off up the Hebble Trail to Halifax or continue on the towpath to Sowerby Bridge Town Centre. Both Sowerby Bridge and Halifax have a train service to Brighouse.

The 8.9km linear route is 95% off route with a road section at Elland Bridge that can easily be walked by less confident cyclists.

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City Connect 2

Posted on Aug 24, 2015 at 09:59 AM by andy.geall79

You may have heard the words City Connect mentioned by cyclists, friends or colleagues and often wondered what it is all about? Well the first City Connect project involved creating a super highway for walking and cycling between Leeds and Bradford.

Find out more about City Connect 1

In the early months of 2015 funding was confirmed for City Connect 2 boosting the success story of the first scheme. The second project has a much bigger vision and involves the West Yorkshire Combined Authority working with all the local authorities of West Yorkshire and York.

So what is this big vision all about? The local authorities involved in the bid all put forward cycle improvement schemes that will enhance the option for more people to consider cycling on safe segregated routes and quiet roads. The aim is to improve the transport network for walking and cycling connecting communities in the process.

How will City Connect 2 benefit Calderdale?

The vision for Calderdale is to create a segregated route from Todmorden to Brighouse with further plans to extend the route to Cooper Bridge and the district of Kirklees. The Calderdale City Connect Route will follow existing National Cycle Network Route 66 and also utilise the Rochdale Canal, Calder & Hebble Navigation and local highway.

Breaking the route down City Connect 2 will follow the canal towpath of the Rochdale Canal between Todmorden and Hebden Bridge using the existing National Cycle Network Route 66. Leaving Hebden Bridge the City Connect route will take a separate path on the Rochdale Canal to Luddendenfoot. By having two greenway routes in the upper Calder Valley this will create a family loop and improve accessibility to Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Moderna Business Park and Luddendenfoot.

Heading east out of Luddendenfoot the City Connect route will follow the same path as National Cycle Network Route 66 to the outskirts of Sowerby Bridge. At this point the Rochdale Canal towpath will provide a City Connect link to the north side of Sowerby Bridge. At the same point National Cycle Network Route 66 will follow the highway linking the south side of the town and providing access to the rail network.

Although the canal is made up from the same body of water it changes from the Rochdale Canal to the Calder and Hebble Navigation in Sowerby Bridge at Tuel Lane Lock, the deepest lock in the UK. On the east side of Sowerby Bridge outside the boundaries of the marina City Connect will link up with National Cycle Network 66 once again with the aim to improve the towpath surface up to Hollas Lane near Copley. From Hollas Lane to the outskirts of Brighouse very few improvements will be made as the Calder Valley Greenway already has a high quality surface.

Taking the route through the town of Brighouse will provide an interesting challenge as space is a real premium. The aim is to follow a mix of canal towpath and the local highway connecting the facilities of the town centre, rail network and industrial estate on the east side of the town.

Looking at the big picture in Calderdale, City Connect 2, the National Cycle Network Routes 66 and 69 will create a complete greenway network linking Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Luddendenfoot, Sowerby Bridge, Copley, Salterhebble, Elland, Brighouse and Halifax and all the train stations in the borough. Future works into Halifax town will complete the Calderdale Valley floor cycle network.

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Mountain

Calderdale Big Dog

Posted on Aug 18, 2015 at 13:19 PM by andy.geall79

Cycle Big Dog

If you want to go out on a big bike ride for the day, and by the day we mean up to 24 hours maybe more; the Calderdale Big Dog provides such a challenge. The route exists after 7 local mountain bikers set out to conquer 50 of the best off road climbs in Calderdale. The route covers a 152 miles and climbs a staggering 23,000ft, big numbers in the world of mountain biking. At this point you are probably thinking why would a group of people attempt this? The simple answer was to raise funds for Bipolar UK and obviously complete the challenge of a lifetime. The team rose over £3K for the charity completing the route in 23 hours.

The Route

So how hard is the actual route….honestly pretty brutal, due to the route being based on climbs the route very much follows a up and down spiked profile with very little time spent on the flat lands just spinning away. If you are not familiar with the area Calderdale is made up of steep sided valleys that offer some of the best natural mountain biking in the UK.

The route starts and finishes at the Stubbing Wharf Pub, Hebden Bridge and hits the hills pretty much from the off. Spencer Lane a steep cobbled climb offers an early challenge before the route descends to Mytholmroyd. Leaving the village things get pretty tough in the form of Stake Lane a road climb that merges into some real challenging off road terrain. The route continues up the Luddenden Valley before picking off a few climbs around Wainstalls and Ogden. At this point you have covered 30km and its time to descend to Halifax before you climb up to Southowram. The top of this climb offers some fantastic views over Halifax looking up the Calder Valley. The route continues to some tough climbs around Copley that include Copley Wood and the technical and steep Hollas Lane.

As you head south the route heads through Greetland,Holywell Green and Sowood chalking off a number of climbs in the process. Approaching Scammonden the route becomes complex for the first time looping back and forth around the reservoir before moving onto the tricky Fiddle Lane. In the dry you may clear this one with a boat load of luck but I bet for many you will be off and pushing.

Rishworth and the Ripponden Valley provide the next test with some cheeky steep little digs before you head to the more rural location of Cragg Vale. The climb out of the village is long but the terrain is kind, appreciate this moment as Todmorden provides a true challenge of climbing and mental toughness. The pain begins as you descend the packhorse trail from Withens Gate to simply turn around and head back up the cobbled wall. The pattern of cobbles continues as you pick off a few climbs that feature on the Mary Towneley Loop.

As you leave Todmorden the route heads to its most rural location. Hugging the hills above Walsden along Long Causeway is followed by the climb of Flower Scar Road. Flower Scar Road offers a reward in the form of a long descent to Cornholme before climbing up one of the steepest roads in Calderdale, Pudsey Road. To add disappointment, this climb does not qualify as an off road climb.

At the summit of Pudsey Road 156km have been ridden and there are still plenty of hills on offer. The challenge continues as you begin the climb of Widdop Reservoir to Gorple Gate, referred to by locals with a less affectionate name. Don’t let this climb confuse you the terrain over the dam wall and beyond is easy before the climb ramps up on loose terrain.

Welcome to the Calder Valley between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, this section of the route is tough climbing one side of the valley and then the other. You eventually escape after doing battle with Duke Street and London Road as you head on to tackle the Ragley Collection. The Ragley Collection is made up of 3 climbs situated North West of Hebden Bridge. The long climb up the woodland is the easy one of the three with the climb to Popples and Hepstonstall having more of a sting in the tail. The Ragley climbs traverse nicely into Hardcastle Crags as the end of this epic mountain bike ride is near. The Calderdale Big Dog ends descending the same climb you and your bike first completed hours, maybe a day before.

Riding the Route

Realistically not many people are going to attempt this ride in one go, think that is best left for the extreme and crazy few of the mountain bike community. However the route could be ridden over a number of days or simply pick a section and enjoy what Calderdale has to offer.

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Road

Tour of the Borders

Posted on Mar 11, 2015 at 12:05 PM by andy.geall79

​Tour of the Borders

Starting a Mays Farm Shop above Colden take the opportunity to stock up on supplies for your ride or enjoy a coffee before you start the pedals turning. This route covering 36.6km of rural terrain is ideal for the hardened roadie on a training loop or for those who like a challenge at a leisurely pace. The route isn’t flat but at the same time you wouldn’t describe the climbs as massive. As the route leaves Colden you are instantly rewarded with a descent before taking the country road to Widdop with plenty to see along the way including Blake Dean and Widdop Reservoir, ideal locations to stop and enjoy the scenery. The route continues to Ridehalgh Lane where the road is best described as impressive as it cuts through the hillside on the descent to Thursden. The route then picks up the old Halifax Road before you make your way to the Lancashire village of Worthorne an ideal place to stop and enjoy the atmosphere. Leaving Worsthorne you head south before linking back to Long Causeway and the stretch back to the start. The weather on this section especially the wind can play a huge part to how quickly you progress, on a good day with little wind the Long Causeway can be open to the elements. As you descend down the hill into Blackshaw Head follow the road to a well deserved drink at the New Delight Inn before heading back to the start.

The anti-clockwise nature of this ride means you can keep cycling as there are very few right turns.

Route Status

Red Hard, featuring some climbs with a 10% gradient and descents featuring technical difficulty.

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