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