Road Ride – Haworth Loop With Extras!

I've had a lazy week (no exercise for 6 days – yikes 😯 !). It was a sunny day here, so  I was determined to get out on my bike today. Various things delayed me, so I didn't set off until 16:00. I only caught the tail end of the sunshine, and then it started to cloud over.

I kept changing my mind about where to go so in the end I just set off up the Keighley Road. It  climbs straight up from Hebden Bridge and I can turn off at Pecket Well and head for Old Town, or I can continue over to Oxenhope. By the time I got to Pecket Well, I'd made my mind up to do a little loop through Oxenhope to Haworth and back. That's about 16 miles and involves a significant climb each way. I usually add a few extra bits on to make it up to 20 miles or so.

I got up as far as the Haworth Old Road and spontaneously decided to ride down there for a change.

Haworth Old Road sign

It's a lovely lane – very scenic and very quiet because there isn't any through-traffic.

View from Old Road

(Heptonstall church centre picture, Stoodley Pike in the distance)

There's a very steep hill at the end of the lane and being a glutton for punishment, I thought I'd ride up there to take a few snaps as part of my ongoing mission to document the area.

Steep hill

The Old Road only goes about 1.5 miles as a proper road these days, and then it abruptly turns into a rough track which is a bridleway over to Haworth. This is now part of the Calder-Aire Link, a mountain bike route from the Aire Valley which connects to The Mary Towneley Loop/Pennine Bridleway on the Widdop Road.

Old Road bridleway

At one time, I assume that the Old Road was a cobbled lane used by pack horses.  The cobbles are all broken up now and it isn't really suitable for a road bike. I used to ride the bridleway a lot when my mountain bike was in use. Unfortunately, I haven't ridden the MTB  since last spring because I can't afford to buy new parts for it. No choice then, but to turn round and ride back to the Keighley Road. I continued over Cock Hill and descended to Oxenhope.

I made another sudden decision to extend my ride, and turned right at the mini-roundabout in Oxenhope to head up the Denholme Road. That is quite steep in places and there are nice views from up there, but I don't usually ride to the far end of it because it joins the busy A629, the kind of road I don't enjoy using.

I took a couple of pictures at Leeming, halfway up the hill, then continued up the climb which gets steeper at the top.

Leeming reservoir

I had a quick drink, then headed back down the hill to the crossroads by the pub (I think it called the Dog and Gun) turned right there and followed my preferred route to Cullingworth, and thus missing out a couple of miles of the A629.

Eventually, I had to join the A629 and do a mile or two with cars hurtling past at 50+ mph, then I turned left at another pub (The Flappit?) and followed the much quieter B6144 over to Haworth Brow, from which I did a brake-testing 20% descent down into Haworth.

I heard a train approaching, but it was a diesel, not one of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway steam trains so I didn't bother to stop for another photo-shoot. One day I'll nip over and photograph the steam locomotives for you.

Oh, what a surprise – another steep hill! This area is riddled with them. To enjoy cycling round here, you have to develop the fitness to cope, and ensure that you have suitably low gears on your bike. I have much lower gears than I used to use (my smallest gear is currently 30/28, but it will probably be changed back to 30/26 or even 30/23 when I'm slimmer and fitter again).

I climbed up past Haworth park, turned left at the top of the steepest part of the hill and headed back over to Oxenhope by an alternative route. Soon I'd worked my way back over Cock Hill and was able to enjoy the fine 4.5 mile descent back to Hebden Bridge.

It was good to be out on the bike again. The forecast is okay for tomorrow, so I'll try and do another ride then.

Ride stats: Distance with the extra bits = 24 miles (39 km), with 3,300 ft of hills crammed in (1,000 m)

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2 Responses to “Road Ride – Haworth Loop With Extras!”

  1. Good report and pictures Colin, must try that bit of road myself!
    The climb up to the DOG AND GUN is a good one but the A629 at the bottom spoils it, Trough Lane is very nice and turning right by the Flappit is a great descent into Howarth.
    Great ride all in all,keep em comin!!!

  2. Thanks Andy.

    Seeing the Haworth Old Road yesterday reminded me how much I enjoyed my mountain biking. I used to do about 1 offroad ride for every 2 road rides.

    As soon as I can afford it, I’ll get my MTB fixed and then start reporting on my many offroad routes too. Calderdale is blessed with a very fine selection of bridleways.

    At some point, I’m going to start mapping my rides and walks and cataloging them properly.

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