Salterhebble to Southowram

Distance: 1785 metres, Ascent: 146 metres, route map

Don’t be put off by the location of the start of this ride. It’s on a cycle-unfriendly stretch of the A629 Halifax Road in Salterhebble where the sun don’t shine. It’s all steel fences, dual carriageways and diesel perfumed shade – and your instinct will be to get as far away from it as quickly as you can.

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Rescue comes in the shape of Exley Bank which is tucked behind the Punch Bowl pub. It’s a vehicle-free stretch of road hidden in the trees and it will steer you away from and above the motorised madness in the valley bottom.
Salterhebble still counts as Halifax in my book so the route inevitably includes a stretch of cobbles and these greet you right from the start. The heavy tree cover means that it’s always dark on Exley Bank so those shades won’t be necessary just yet but pedal up those cobbles into the sunshine. There’s some respite when you reach the tarmac as the left turn onto Backhold Lane is pretty flat. But not for long because you now want the first right onto Park Lane where the climbing continues afresh.

It’s not so steep to begin with but things pick up as you pass the gates of Park Lane High School. Finding it all hard going? Then let their slogans inspire you – Believe Achieve Succeed. With those fine words in your head you’ll make light work of the hill ahead. Which is just as well because the top of the hill is now in view and from here it looks a little daunting.

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Believe Achieve Succeed. As you press on you’ll soon discover that the route does a spot of weaving around and does tackle the hill head on. But don’t concentrate too hard on grinding it out because there’s an impressive view over Halifax to your left.

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If nothing else this should take your mind off the exertion. The noise and pollution of the A629 feels like miles away once you’re amongst the fields and from here on it’s just a question of finding the highest point on the road to call a halt.

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