The Spen Valley Greenway follows a disused railway line from the village of Oakenshaw to the historic market town of Dewsbury in West Yorkshire. The 7-mile (11.2 km) route is entirely paved and traffic-free throughout, making it perfect for a family day ride with the little ones in tow.
The Spen Valley railway line was once a vital artery for industry in West Yorkshire, carrying textiles during the industrial boom of the 19th and 20th centuries until its closure in the 1980s. Nowadays, you find cyclists, walkers and runners along the former tracks rather than steam engines carrying goods. Remnants of the region's industrial heritage are still visible as you ride under railway bridges en route.
Since Sustrans opened the Way in 2000, it has proven very popular with locals and visitors alike. The route boasts various artworks and sculptures as well as wonderful views over patchwork Yorkshire countryside. Look out for the flock of ‘Swaledale Sheep’ made from recycled industrial scrap by Sally Matthews, as well as ‘Rotate’ by Trudi Entwistle – a circle of giant steel hoops which you can cycle through.
Yorkshire is known for its green rolling hills and open moorland, both of which you experience in the Spen Valley. Despite its proximity to the city of Bradford and other towns such as Cleckheaton and Heckmondwike, the Way passes countless open fields, a picturesque golf course and a vibrant wildlife reserve, with far-reaching views throughout.
You can ride the 7-mile (11.2 km) Way in either direction, though the Dewsbury to Oakenshaw option is a gentle uphill ride. As it is entirely paved, any bike is suitable including e-bikes. Just don’t forget to look out for other riders and pedestrians; the route can be busy in summer.
En route, you pass some small cafes to stop for a hot drink or an ice cream, depending on the weather. A small detour off the route into one of the adjoining suburbs brings you to shops and more places to eat and drink.
The Spen Valley Greenway is part of the NCN 66 route. From Oakenshaw, you can continue to the city of Bradford along signposted paths and cycle lanes. If you wish to stay overnight in the area, Bradford and the surrounding towns offer plenty of accommodation.
To reach the start of the route, only a stone’s throw from Oakenshaw, you can take the train to Low Moor, which has direct connections from Huddersfield, Leeds, Manchester, and Bradford. Dewsbury is also easy to reach by train as it lies on the same line as Low Moor, meaning you can comfortably leave your car at home.
The Spen Valley Greenway sets off a few pedal strokes from Low Moor train station in Oakenshaw on the outskirts of Bradford. After cycling past the station, you join the …
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