Cycling in Calderdale
Calderdale is home to some excellent road routes in the upper valley and the lower valley.
Off road, Calderdale offers the magnificent Mary Towneley Loop which is not for the faint hearted – A challenging 47 mile “loophole” in the Pennine Bridleway, which like Everest demands to be tackled “because it’s there!” This off-road mountain bike route forms part of the Pennine Bridleway and the 17-mile Calderdale section begins at Warland following an old pack horse route over steep sided moorland linking Lumbutts and Mankinholes on the outskirts of Todmorden. The route continues on the South side of the Calder Valley bypassing Stoodley Pike Monument before descending through Callis Wood to Charlestown on the outskirts of Hebden Bridge.
From Charlestown the route climbs rapidly from the valley floor to Blackshaw Head making a number of twists and turns around Colden Village.
Hungry cyclists can grab a bite to eat just off the trail, before descending past Gorple Lower Reservoir and onto a short road section before going off road again at Widdop Reservoir. From here the route follows Gorple Gate track a technical climb to challenge even the most skilled mountain biker. The Calderdale section of the Mary Towneley Loop finishes at Gorple Stones and on a good day the views are fantastic.
It is however worth venturing into Lancashire as the descent to Hurstwood Reservoir is that good!
Less strenuous but still exciting is offered the Calderdale Loop, a 15 mile mountain bike route which takes in part of the Pennine Bridleway National Trail.
Whilst Calderdale has notoriously hilly terrain it does offer excellent riding for families and the National Cycle Network Route 66 a flat cycle route that follows the valley floor from Walsden to Brighouse. The route runs along the canal towpath, off road tarmac sections, quiet roads and woodland trails. The best thing about this route is it passes through a number of the valley’s major towns, providing an ideal cafe or ice cream stop.
If everyone has had enough pedalling for one day you can always jump on the train. The route bypasses Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge and Brighouse railways stations. The best bet is to explore. You don’t have to cycle the whole route. Pick a section between the railway stations that all the family can ride and choose a suitable cafe on route to relax.
The Rochdale Canal and Calder & Hebble Navigation is perfect for family cycling and provides the perfect starting point to increase the family’s confidence before you decide to tackle one of Calderdale’s many hills. Due to recent flooding, sections of the canal are currently closed so it is worth checking the route before you arrive.
Following the success of Tour de France, Welcome to Yorkshire, supported by Yorkshire Bank; have helped local communities set up bike banks to allow free bike hire. Used bikes are donated for free and then reconditioned and hired out, allowing children and adults to learn to ride, get fit or just enjoy their natural environment on a bike, helping to achieve our vision for Calderdale to be the most Active Borough in the North of England!
Calderdale has two bike banks located at:
Happy Days Cycles in Sowerby Bridge.
Active Calderdale Bike Library, Halifax Fire Station, in Skircoat Moor Road.
The Active Calderdale Library at Halifax is open 10am -1pm on the first Saturday of each month and run by West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service in collaboration with Calderdale Council. To book a bike and for enquiries (including donating a bike) please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Halfway up Cragg Vale you can take a break at Craggies Café, Deli & Butchery, the cake and coffee is just what hungry cyclists need.
Right in the centre of Hebden Bridge, Coffee Cali offers a selection of freshly prepared food and ample cycle parking at the back of the coffee, where you can sit by the river and enjoy the relaxed ambience of Hebden Bridge.
Blazing Saddles Hebden Bridge. The guys are on hand to offer advice on good routes to take and even offer a bike lock loan service for that all important coffee stop and a bike washing service for muddy mountain bikers.
Calderdale is a special part of Yorkshire. Few locations offer this blend of beauty and history in such a small place. There are so many walking routes in Calderdale, you're spoilt for choice!