The Fox and Goose to Slack Bottom

Distance: 1707 metres, Ascent: 161 metres, route map

Slack Bottom is an ailment that a medieval physician would have cured with a couple of leeches and some purging. You’ll be in need of something similar by the time you’ve finished this little gem.

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Start outside the Fox and Goose pub which is at the junction of Heptonstall Road and the main A646 road between Todmorden and Hebden Bridge. The traffic lights here should help you find a gap in the traffic to start your ascent. It’s the only sort of help you’ll get on this route as it’s a grind all the way.

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You need to settle into a good rhythm to get up the ramp of Heptonstall Road. After less than a kilometre there is a left fork upwards to Heptonstall and this provides more of the same sort of gradient. As you get close to the picturesque village of Heptonstall the road narrows and, just to add to the pleasure, becomes cobbled.

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The steepest bit is just after the post office after which things should start to get easier.
However, if you’ve picked a busy time there can be other problems to negotiate. There can be congestion in the village when there’s a bus trying to go one way and some numpty in a 4×4 trying to go the other. More prosaically you may find fell runners or festival goers clogging the streets, so mind how you go.

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Hopefully you’ll get a clear run and once past Weavers Square the gradient falls away letting you power your way off the cobbles and follow the tarmac to the top of the hill. There’s a handy bench here where you can collapse and admire the view over the valley of Colden Clough. On your way back down there’s also a handy spot to stop and admire the view over Hebden Bridge…

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