1st January 2022
This bike ride is from the station in Hebden Bridge to Brighouse. It is Stage 11 of the Sustrans Slow Tour of Yorkshire.
Most of it is on canal towpaths. The surfaces are ok, but muddy in Winter. The path is never very wide so there's a lot of slowing down and negotiating your way past other people; the narrowest bits are under bridges. The busiest on-road section is in Sowerby Bridge.
There are plenty of interesting buildings along the route, and ducks, swans and geese. There's no shortage of cafés and pubs either.
The ride takes you from Hebden Bridge to Brighouse and back.
Distance: 12 miles
each way, so 24 miles there and back
Time: around 1.5h each way, so 3h in total
The Google map above shows the route from Hebden Bridge to Brighouse in purple.
This is the ride on Plotaroute; you can download a navigation file from there.
The ride starts from Hebden Bridge station.
Turn right out of the station, and you come to a path by the river Calder.
The path by the Calder leads to a residential street on the western edge of Mytholmroyd - Calder Brook/Caldene Avenue. You get a glimpse of the centre of Mytholmroyd.
Turn right up Thrush Hill Road and go under the railway. Veer left on Stocks Lane, which brings you to a T-junction at Cragg Road.
Up to the right is Cragg Vale, England's longest continuous climb. It featured on Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France.
Instead of turning right up Cragg Vale, turn left. Immediately before you get to the railway again, turn right up towards Mytholmroyd station. It has a series of chicanes to make cycling inconvenient - a massively over-engineered solution to a non-problem.
Continue straight on past the station platform, on a path through the woods.
You emerge from the woods at the hamlet of Brearley. Continue straight on here, on Mill Hill.
The road is a dead end for motor vehicles, but on a bike you can keep going on a path by the Calder, then next to the railway line.
The path brings you to Luddenden Foot, joining Station Road through
the premises of a brewery called Vocation. Travelling east navigation
is no problem, but going the other way the sign is tiny and easily
missed. Also, when the gate is closed, the barriers next to it exclude
any non-standard cycles.
Cross the river Calder at Luddenden Foot and join the Rochdale Canal towpath.
Terraced cottages and old inudstrial buildings line the canal, both built with sandstone to create a typical West Yorkshire backdrop to your ride.
At Friendly, a steep ramp leads up away from the canal to Hollins Mill Lane. There's then an opportunity to rejoin the canal towpath, but it's better to stay on Hollins Mill Lane because it means less cycling on busy roads when you reach Sowerby Bridge.
Follow Hollins Mill Lane to Sowerby Bridge. There's a bike shop in Sowerby Bridge.
At the end of Hollins Mill Lane, turn right and go under the railway. Turn left on Station Road, and left again to go under the railway once more. You end up on Holmes Road, which is not exactly busy, but not as quiet as you might like either.
Turn left on Canal Road, then right to rejoin the canal towpath. This is now the Calder & Hebble Navigation.
Soon you reach the Salterhebble Basin.
The path winds round the edge of it. A little building has nice Calder & Hebble text and design.
A dark, narrow tunnel takes you through to the continuation of the Calder & Hebble Navigation.
The Canal & River Trust grudgingly allows cycling on towpaths, but is keen to put up as many Cyclists Dismount signs as possible.
Stay on the towpath to Elland. There, you have to come up to road level to cross to the other side of the canal. Rejoin the towpath by turning onto Gas Works Lane, then looking out for a little cut-through off to your left. The Barge & Barrel is on the other side of the water.
About halfway between Elland and Brighouse, you pass Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve.
When you see the yellow bike advertising the Mamil Café Bar, you've reached Brighouse.
Return the way you came, or take the train back.
Have you done this bike ride? What did you think of it?
The Hebden Bridge to Brighouse ride is partly the 1:25,000 OS Explorer map of Bradford & Huddersfield, number 288.
The rest is on the South Pennines 1:25,000 OS Explorer map, OL21.
I didn't see any sabre-tooth tigers or woolly rhinos along the way, but there was plenty of more mundane wildlife.
There were lots of mallard ducks; a few swans; and a flotilla of Canada geese.
My most exciting sighting was a family of five goosanders.
Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve is between Elland and Brighouse. You could see butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies there in Summer.
Woodpeckers are sometimes spotted at the bird feeding area.
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