Hebden Bridge to Summit via Pennine Bridleway and Rochdale Canal, West Yorkshire by Richard Peace

Ride level Experienced cyclist
Distance 17 mi / 27 km
Type of bicycle Mountain bike
Traffic free
Circular route
The Rochdale Canal at Hebden Bridge

Cycling UK's e-bike expert and author Richard Peace reveals a magnificent ride that takes you high above the Calder and Roch valleys exploring ancient trails.

After leaving lively and pretty Hebden Bridge centre along the Rochdale Canal you double back over a canal bridge and start a long climb — pretty steep in places — as tarmac gives way to cobbles then earth and stone and joins the Pennine Bridleway (PBW). The track levels out then descends under the unmissable Stoodley Pike Monument, proudly standing above you on the eponymous hilltop. It was built in 1856 to celebrate the end of the Crimean War.

The wonderful bridleway section continues to the lovely hamlets of Mankinholes and Lumbutts and bridleway resumes after a brief and easy road section. This is Salter Rake Gate, a huge length of largely intact original causeway made for packhorses in ancient times. You can see the wear of hundreds of years of human and animal traffic worn into the middle of the huge pavers.

After descending through Bottomley, we leave the PBW to briefly double back on the main road and climb back onto another fine section of PBW (this is much easier than actually staying on PBW all the way – the PBW climb to Reddyshore is for very fit expert riders only or those who like pushing!). This fine broad track narrows and becomes rocky at its very end before we return on the scenic towpath of the Rochdale Canal. 


Use a full-suspension mountain bike if possible as there are some rocky, technical sections mixed in with plenty of broad tracks and a long length of scenic canal towpath. Reasonable ability / experienced rider level advised as there are some steep gradients on fairly uneven surfaces.

Bring plenty drink to quench your thirst after the steep climbs out of Hebden Bridge, up onto Rake End and then onto Reddyshore Scout (though there are frequent pubs en route).

Hebden Bridge is a mecca for all kinds of shops, from eco-cafés to more boutique style offerings. The Top Brink Inn at Lumbutts serves food as does the Shepherds Rest Inn just before the Salter Rake Gate causeway and the Summit Inn at Summit. On the canal return ride there is plenty of choice just off the canal at Walsden.