Sheffield -Wakefield-Leeds the Hess-Attwood route
Tim Hess wrote up his commuting route from Oughtibridge to Leeds several years ago, which he described as "not for the faint-hearted", and he's not wrong. Its a great route for a confident and fit road cyclist but we felt we needed to ride it ourselves before we put it up on the site. Richard Attwood has done some valuable research for this route as well.
We've now done that and here's our guide with hopefully a few improvements.
The ride starts at Oughtibridge - to get there use this guide.
Continue along Manchester Rd - this is a busy road and fast in places so use caution, it's best to be visible as the road is well shaded. You pass through Wharncliffe Side and at Deepcar, turn right onto Wortley Rd. This climbs under the Stocksbridge bypass - take care not to end up on this road , just after the bridge turn left onto Soughley Lane, and when you get to the top turn left onto Forge Lane. (You can also access the TPT for a short stretch at this point - you need to come off again at the Thurgoland access point) Wortley Top Forge is an interesting place to visit. Forge Lane becomes Cote Lane and on reaching the A629 turn left then immediately right onto Roper Lane. Then turn left onto Pinfold Lane (watch out for it, there's no signpost)
This will take you up to the B6449 just outside Silkstone Common. Veer right into the village and, crossing the TPT turn left just after the station (trains on the Huddersfield - Penistone - Barnsley - Sheffield line) on Cone Lane which will take you down to Silkstone itself. Cross the A628, take High St through the village and turn left onto Silkstone Lane. You may wish to stop at Silkstone Church and view the graves and memorial to the 26 children who died in the Hurkar pit disaster in 1838, leading to the 1842 Mines Act which gave some (but not much) protection to children working underground in mines.
Silkstone Lane will take you to Cawthorne, a very pleasant village with tea shops, restaurants and pubs. Cross A635 Lane Head Rd and proceed along Church St, turning right at Darton Rd and onto Cawthorne Lane. This brings you out at Kexbrough which has an excellent chippie. Turn right onto Churchfield Lane and down you go, over the M1 and into Darton which has a station on the Sheffield - Barnsley - Wakefield - Leeds line. As the route from here on becomes a lot less rural this could be a good bailing point.
If however you are made of sterner stuff turn left from Church St to Station Rd and veer right onto Woolley Colliery Rd. onto Sackup Lane. This takes you around a new housing development - turn left onto The Grange and follow it as it winds around the new housing estate. Then it climbs up to Woolley Edge Road - this has fantastic views but is busy with fast traffic, so we've chosen a route that keeps you on it for shortest possible time. Follow it down to Dennington Lane, crossing the motorway, until you turn right onto Cliff Rd. Cross the motorway again, At the junction of Cliff Rd, Hollin Lane and High St in Crigglestone you have route choices.
(i) continue to l. Hollin Lane then r. Howard Cres, l. Durkar Lane.
Join the A636 into Wakefield which they have attempted to make cycle-friendly, but, I'm sorry, Wakefield council doesn't really get cycling. Tim suggests that Durkar is a good place to park'n'ride into Leeds.
(ii) Route with more traffic-free sections. Turn r. onto High St, and at the end cross Durkar Lane. and contimue, r. Standbridge Garth, l. Standbridge Lane. At the first roundabout take the 2nd exit, at the 2nd roundabout take the first into the shopping centre, Sandal Castle Centre. (These junctions have bike lanes) Continue to the end of the service road you're on and between the Aldi and the office block (BPX Electro Mechanical Co. Ltd.) You'll see a gate leading to a muddy track and a Private Land" notice. Don't be discouraged even if you are on a road bike - after 50 yards the muddy track turns into a tarmac path and you can follow this all the way past Pugneys Park (Sandal Castle is on your right, watch out for stoats on the track) until it emerges onto Pugneys Rd. Take this all the way up to Portobelo Rd and l. on A61 Barnsley Rd. You can take the WoW route past the Hepworth Gallery to avoid some nasty road junctions and Calder vale rd to pass historic Chantrey Chapel. Here you are close to Kirkgate station.
From Wakefield into Leeds we have route options.
TPT Route: The A638 Doncaster Road is the signed pedestrian route to the TPT, intended for trail users heading south. It's the most straightforward route to get onto the TPT - when you reach the junction with the A655 you'll see the TPT going off to the left on a poor quality path up to Heath. The Kings Arms is a useful watering hole. Watch out for the left turn off Kirkthorpe Lane which will take you down to the Aire & Calder navigation.
Attwood Route: From the big A61 junction near Kirkgate take Paterson Rd which becomes Stanley Rd. Turn left onto Eastmoor Rd, then right onto North Ave.At the top it's a r. onto Bar Lane, at the roundabout l. onto Ouchthorpe Lane. Then it's r. onto Rooks Nest Rd. In Stanley you could take to the TPT route, or follow the Long Causeway (another one?) , then l. onto Lee Moor Rd, l. Common Rd and l. onto B6135 Ouzlewell Green. You're in the Rhubarb Triangle and you can stop and buy some forced Rhubarb. In Carlton the road becomes Town St, take a left at the Post Office (useful bench for a break) l. onto Queen St., l. onto Westfield Rd. l. Leadwell Lane, r. Copley Lane becoming Sharp Lane & over the M1 on to Throstle Rd N. At Belle Isle find Ring Rd to the r. that forks into Middleton Rd, Pepper Rd, becoming Sussex Lane for a second before you l. onto Pepper Lane. A dogleg over the A639 finds you on Severn Rd, l. Severn Way, l. Severn Way, l. Gibraltar Island Rd. At the roundabout go r. onto Old Mill Lane and you have now joined the TPT for the approach into Leeds City Centre. along the Aire. Wow!
For all routes, start your journey at the Royal Armouries.