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Distance: 11 miles
Total climb: 1311 feet
Total descent: 1311 feet
This is a Black Diamond Route, developed by Experience Community. It is a challenging route that might be possible for some disabled people using the correct equipment such as off-road adapted cycles. It is also suitable for cyclists and walkers. It starts in Todmorden where there are several parking places within easy reach of the start of the route on the canal side. Parking can be found between the market place and the Methodist church, or around Union Street. The market place also hosts an accessible toilet, for which you will need a radar key.
This circular route starts out along some canal side paths taking in the magnificent local industrial heritage. At the canal road crossing in Walsden, with the church on your left, you then follow a steep road to its summit, which is a sustained climb on good surfaces. Bending left at the summit the road reaches a T-junction with the Pennine Bridleway (the Mary Towneley Loop). Small respite is offered in a short downhill section to a gate, though this is brief. A long winding climb on pack horse trails and tricky uneven flag stones leads up to the true summit. A widening in the track and some more uneven ground eventually leads to some spectacular views at the top of this very technical climb. There are sections on which, if self-propelled, you may require assistance. Stunning views over Walsden, Stoodley Pike, and the surrounding moors are enjoyed on a gentle decent before meeting Lumbutts Road at the Shepherd’s Rest Pub.
The road towards Mankinholes is less technical though no less picturesque and the descent and climb provide further entertainment before a sharp left bend and leaving the road to re-join the Mary Towneley Loop on the section known locally as London Road. This track offers another 2 miles of technical climbing, and undulating gradual ascent leads almost to Stoodley Pike itself before a right turn at around 6.3 miles. Caution is advised at 7.4 miles with a steep descent to a tight s-bend with several gates and a tough climb. The stepped rocky path coupled with the steep terrain offer the final challenge of the day before a fast track decent and some pleasant canal paths back from Hebden Bridge to Todmorden.