Plenty of cycling routes to discover

Saddling up to ride from Salterhebble  to Mirfield.
Saddling up to ride from Salterhebble to Mirfield.

The beauty of the Yorkshire Dales and our county’s broad countryside has never been in question.

Tour de France organisers Amaury Sports Organisation were bowled over by Yorkshire Grand Depart stage highlights like Buttertubs Pass, with views over Swaledale, Wensleydale and beyond, when given a helicopter tour of the route by Welcome to Yorkshire in 2013.

So it’s hardly surprising that our rolling hills and country roads have seen cycling interest kick up a gear since the announcement that the Grand Depart would begin in God’s Own County on July 5 and 6.

Nevertheless, for those of us who are relatively new to two wheels and who might not fancy a non-stop 190km stint along the stage one route from Leeds to Harrogate, where is best to cycle in our area?

On the doorstep of most people in North Kirklees is the seven mile off-road Spen Valley Greenway, which runs from Cleckheaton to Bradford via Dewsbury and Heckmondwike along a disused railway track.

The route is a wonderful green corridor running through our towns, with long distance moor-land views, passing a wildlife reserve and a rolling golf course.

The path is also home to a collection of artworks including Sally Matthews’s flock of Swaledale Sheep, constructed from recycled industrial scrap, and Rotate by Trudi Entwistle – 40 giant steel hoops set in a circle.

The route is traffic-free with a gentle climb from Dewsbury to Oakenshaw. From Oakenshaw, you can continue into Bradford using cycle lanes and paths.

The 14 mile Calder Valley Cycleway between Sowerby Bridge and Warland is a worthwhile beginner ride, running through paths, quiet roads, canal towpaths and collections of public art.

This is a signed, mainly traffic-free eight mile route between Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centres. It is ideal for family leisure cycling or for getting to work.

Most of the path is built on the former rail corridor of the Midland Railway, with the section from Dewsbury Moor to the town centre on a riverside path.

The Dewsbury to Ossett Greenway provides a flat, traffic free route from Ossett, Earlsheaton and Savile Town into Dewsbury town centre. The latest section, which opened last year, passes through an old railway tunnel in Earlsheaton.

Further afield, the Leeds-Liverpool canal towpath is well used by cyclists, taking in Kirkstall Abbey, the Saltaire World Heritage Site and East Riddlesden Hall, depending how far you go.