Distance: 4189 metres, Ascent: 302 metres, route map
The start point for this ride is in Todmorden at the junction of Cross Stones Road with Burnley Road A646 – it’s across the road and up a bit from the filling station.
Cross Stones Road isn’t a busy road but let any traffic get past you before you set off as you’ll be out of the saddle almost immediately going at a traffic-hindering crawl. After a steep start the road heads into the trees and then gets even steeper as it zig-zags its way up to the village of Cross Stones.
As the gradient eases off in the village take the left turn (inevitably this turning heads uphill) and follow the narrow route up past the golf club. The road gets steeper again and also becomes very narrow in places, trapped between two stone walls. You may find yourself having to stop and pull you bike up onto the verge to let cars past. Whilst this might slow you down it will also give you a chance to get your breath back.
The crux of this ride is about a thousand foot of climb in the space of a couple of miles so be grateful for any respite you can get. Further up the gradient eases off as you approach a T-junction. The hardest part of the ride is now over but that doesn’t mean you’ve finished. Turn left and the comparatively flat road will take you up to the highest point which is the junction of Eastwood Road with Kebs Road.
In previous times I’d recommend some light refreshment at the Sportsman’s Arms but sadly it’s yet another great pub that has closed. Instead you should go and have a visit to the Bride Stones themselves. This much weathered gritstone outcrop is a paradise for those who like bouldering. If that’s not your scene, then have a more gentle clamber around on them and enjoy the view across the upper Calder Valley.