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Garforth to Woodlesford cycle route

Woodlesford Lock

Woodlesford Lock

This cycle route, chosen as Stage 2 of the Sustrans Slow Tour of Yorkshire, is from Garforth, past St Aidan's RSPB reserve, to Woodlesford Lock. It's 9 miles one way, or 18 miles there and back. This is the Sustrans leaflet for the ride.

It's not spectacular, but perfectly pleasant. It's probably one to do if you live locally, rather than travelling a long way for. (The tow path past Woodlesford Lock is also a good route into Leeds, used by commuters).

The surface seems to be crushed limestone for much of the way. It's ok as long as you don't have a pure road bike. The quality is decent enough, although there were plenty of puddles when I did it, and my bike ended up quite muddy.

Garforth to Woodlesford cycle route: map

The map shows the route from Barton-upon-Humber to North Ferriby in yellow.

Garforth to Woodlesford cycle route: route notes

Garforth to Woodend

Linesway, Garforth

The Linesway, near Garforth

The route starts on a tarmacked path, which passes the back gardens of some houses. It soon goes under the A63, and changes to a non-tarmacked but reasonably hard surface. This is the Linesway. An information board further along tells you that it is the route of the old Garforth to Castleford railway (1878 to 1969), and another tells you what wildlife you might see.

Linesway information board

Linesway information board

You pass Townclose Hills (or Billy Wood) Nature Reserve on your left. Continue to a junction near Owl Wood, where there's a wagon wheel. Turn right here.

Wagon wheel

Wagon wheel near Owl Wood

You cross a road at Woodend. There are quite a lot of tight A-frames all along this ride, but Woodend wins the prize for its four-in-a-row. You can easily skip two of them here, just by taking the road to the right of the path.

Woodend

Woodend

Woodend to Woodlesford Lock

St Aidan's junction

Soon after crossing the road at Woodend, you reach a junction in the path, where you go left (signed for Lowther Lake, see photo above). Lowther Lake is part of RSPB St Aidan's Nature Reserve.

RSPB St Aidan's

RSPB St Aidan's

The path takes you to a bridge over the river Aire, which you cross.

Bridge over the river Aire

Bridge over the river Aire

Turn right at the other end of the bridge. The path now follows the river Aire, which is to your right. For a section, the railway is to your left. You reach Lemonroyd Marina. After passing the Marina, you're on the towpath of the Aire & Calder Navigation (effectively a branch of the river Aire).

Aire Calder Navigation towpath

Aire & Calder Navigation towpath

The Aire & Calder Navigation widens out.

Aire & Calder Navigation

Aire & Calder Navigation

The towpath takes you under the A642 at Woodlesford, then you reach Woodlesford Lock.

Woodlesford Lock

There's a tap, which will be useful if your water bottle needs filling up.

Tap, Woodlesford Lock

Return route

Return by the way you came.

All photos © Hedgehog Cycling

Garforth to Woodlesford cycle route: comments and suggestions

There are no major flaws in this route.

There are an awful lot of A-frame barriers, all set quite tight, so it was a struggle to squeeze my handlebars and shoulders through them. I understand why they are there - to stop the route being used on motorbikes. If it were possible to open them out a bit, it would make riding the route easier.

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Harland Way

Harland Way

The Harland Way is a Sustrans cycle and foot path between Spofforth and Wetherby, and is theoretically phase 1 of a route between Harrogate and York, the rest of which may one day be built.

It's on the trackbed of a dismantled railway, so it's flat, and a very pleasant ride. The surface for much of the way between Spofforth and Wetherby is compacted gravel, rather than tarmac, so it's not suitable for pure road bikes with thin tyres. 

The Harland Way, also known as the Wetherby Railway path, goes to Wetherby, then there's an extension east of Wetherby, as far as Thorp Arch Estate and Retail Park. 

Read more about Harland Way.

The Linesway Aire Calder towpathWoodlesford Lock