Washer Lane

Distance: 1236 metres, Ascent: 118 metres, route map

The local landmark of Wainhouse Tower can be seen from miles around. At 84 metres in height Wikipedia claims it to be the world’s tallest folly. Maybe they haven’t heard of the Eiffel Tower. It’s not that good as a folly either as it was originally constructed to be a chimney, albeit a particularly spectacular and ornate one. The octagonal-sectioned tower is open on bank holidays when you can climb its 403 steps up to the viewing platforms. But first you need to get there and, as you’re currently on the A6026 Wakefield Road down by the Calder River, you’ll need a route.

Washer Lane provides the steep and occasionally cobbled climb that you’re looking for and it’s easy enough to find. Follow the A6026 eastwards from its junction with the A58 and after about 500 metres it’s the first turning on your left. There’s a high stone wall on your left and a wooden fence on your right and nothing in the way of steepness to trouble you. It’s only when the road swings round to the right after 300 metres that the proper climbing begins.

On your right you’ll see some fields which may not have been what you expected, on the map at least it promises to be a more urban ride. For the most part though it has a rural feel until you reach the houses at the top of Washer Lane.

At the junction you should see the grand facade of The Royal pub in front of you but there’s no time for a pint just yet. Turn sharply right and go along Upper Washer Lane which is almost flat. But guess what? It doesn’t stay flat for long. The road turns to the left, gets steeper and things get complicated. The road markings now try and make you turn right but straight in front of you is the cobbled trackway of Wakefield Gate and it must be the right way because it’s steep. With its rough cobbles it looks like it shouldn’t really be a road but there’s a fair amount of traffic that goes up and down it so try not to weave around too much. On your right is a high wall with Wainhouse Tower somewhere further behind although it’s difficult to spot what with all the trees. Glance left after the wall ends and you should see it. Not far now, the cobbles get less steep and finally come to an end as do you when you reach the tarmac of the A646 Skircoat Moor Road. To your left is the impressive looking Crossley Heath school and below and around it is the open parkland that the locals quaintly refer to as The Moor.

If you were looking for refreshment then amongst the houses just across the way is the little back street of Horsfall Street home to the wonderful Big Six pub. Not quite sure where you’re going to leave your bike though.

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