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Penny Pot Lane cycle route

View of Scargill reservoir

This is a suggestion for a cycle route west of Harrogate, out via Penny Pot Lane, to Swinsty reservoir, and returning via Norwood Lane. (It can of course be done the other way round).

Penny Pot Lane cycle route: map

The map below shows my suggested route:

Map showing Penny Pot Lane cycle route west of Harrogate

Penny Pot Lane cycle route: route notes

The route is shown starting from the Prince of Wales roundabout. 

The first short stretch up the Otley Road (B6162) needs care - it's a busy road, and quite narrow, so vehicles tend to overtake without leaving much space. 

Turn right down Harlow Moor Road - which has a very poor road surface due to the huge number of road works which have taken place here. It becomes Cornwall Road, then Penny Pot Lane. There are traffic lights at the bottom of the hill, before taking the narrow bridge over Oak Beck; then it's uphill to the roundabout/ junction with Oaker Bank.

Bridge over Oak Beck, Harrogate  Poor road surface on Penny Pot Lane, Harrogate

Go straight on at the roundabout, on Penny Pot Lane. It's slightly uphill. The road has the feel of a country lane, but there is a good deal of traffic, with some vehicles doing 60-70mph. Beware of cars overtaking where pedestrian refuges create pinch points, and, especially as the road gets narrower further up, close passes when there is oncoming traffic.

Penny Pot Lane, Harrogate  Knabs Ridge turbine

Pass the Knabs Ridge wind turbines on the right hand side. You can tell from the direction they are facing, exactly where the wind is coming from.

At the end of Penny Pot Lane, do a right/left dogleg, and take a genuinely quiet road, Bedlam Lane. Turn left at the end, and follow the route map to Swinsty reservoir. (The road down to the reservoir has a poor surface, and is a bit dark, due to the trees - care needed here).

Junction of Penny Pot Lane and B6451  Swinsty reservoir

Head up from the reservoir on Smithson's Lane. At the top, do a left/right on to Watson's Lane (again, a lovely quiet country road, where you may see rabbits, hares, and stoats). At the end, turn left on Broad Dubb Road. 

Watson's Lane  Broad Dubb Road

At the top of the hill, you pass Little Alms Cliff on the right hand side. Broad Dubb Road becomes Norwood Lane.

Little Alms Cliff  Cyclists on Norwood Lane

At the end of Norwood Lane, turn left on the B6161 to Beckwithshaw, then right at the mini-roundabout onto the B6162. This road is narrow and can be busy. I prefer to turn off it, as shown on the map, on Howhill Road, then Lady Lane, Whinney Lane (past the Squinting Cat pub), and back to the Otley Road via Pannal Ash Road.

The route can be done the opposite way round. (Update: I don't enjoy cycling up Penny Pot Lane, because of the close, fast passes. Cycling down is better, because I can go faster, so fewer vehicles pass, and the speed differential is not so great. Therefore, I now almost always do this route the other way round - out on Norwood Lane/Broad Dubb Road, and back on Penny Pot Lane).

Penny Pot Lane cycle route: suggested Tour de France legacy route

I think this route could be improved with a segregated cycle path alongside Penny Pot Lane. As it's close to the route of the Tour de France 2014, Stage 2, why not improve it with a separate cycle path, so it's safe for all ages and abilities, and signpost it as a Tour de France legacy cycle route? In the meantime, until this can be done, the speed limit on Penny Pot Lane could be reduced to 50mph, and cyclist passing distance signs could be put up.

These are my suggestions for improvements to the route

Do you have any more comments or suggestions?

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