Any experiences of NCN66 route? (Specifically Spen Valley Greenway, Cleckheaton to Bradford Centre)

Hi all,

Bit of a niche question, but trying my chances nonetheless. I'm relocating to Gomersal, Kirklees from Pudsey Leeds in the next few weeks which will drastically change my commute, I'm just planning my new commute to work in Bradford.

Is there anyone here who has ridden the NCN66 Spen Valley Greenway to/from Bradford?

I'll be riding from Cleckheaton to Bradford and then making my way on to Bradford Royal Infirmary. I want to avoid the dreaded Wakefield Road at rush hour at all costs. I was pleasantly surprised to learn there's a sustrans route (NCN66) near my new neck of the woods which will help me avoid this major road nightmare.

Is the route clear enough to ride a road bike on? I ask as I have tried muddy and leaf ridden sustrans routes in and around Sheffield and Penistone and know I'd have a tough time dodging horse excrement and potholes and wouldn't have dreamed of riding it on a road bike on it.

Also, what's the connection like from the end of the greenway route to the centre, is it easy to navigate? I expect there will be some wise arse who will suggest I just try the damn route, but honestly I'm pressed for time and don't have any free weekends leading up to the move date so curious to hear about peoples opinions and suggestions for the route.

For what it's worth, I'm used to riding around Bradford, but have been heading to/from Pudsey via Old Leeds Road. I have taken this route for 3 years to avoid Wakefield Road as would be gutted if I had to start using it now!

The Route:


Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next


Found in the Yorkshire hills ...
I use it lots of times as do most of my club. My son also uses the greenway to school in the morning. You get views like this:


It can get a bit busy later in the day and he finds lots of dog walkers distracting ... but then maybe he should slow down? The section from Cleckheaton uphill through to the end is quieter and more open than the bit downhill to Ravensthorpe.

The route down into Bradford is OK once you've figured it out. Through Bowling Park can get a bit slippy and finding the entrance at Bowling Park Drive takes practice, or you could come off at the end of the greenway by the Euroway estate and use Staithgate Lane up towards Richard Dunn's through to the hospital that way.

Oh, and if you're looking for a local bike club I know of one :okay:
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Found in the Yorkshire hills ...
Much appreciated @DCLane, which club out of interest?
Ravensthorpe CC - the website's at but most of the additional rides / discussion is on Facebook, with the link on their web page.

I tend only to ride on Saturdays about once a fortnight and make the occasional chain gang / weekday / Sunday rides due to my youngest racing/training (he's in Kirklees Cycling Academy) but there's enough going on for almost anyone to find something to suit them.

Oh, and if you're after an LBS try Spen Velo or Oakwell Cycles. I use Sowerby's but they're a bit further away.
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Big Andy

Über Member
Fine for a road bike. Will be the odd slippy patch on leaves when damp at this time of year so just be careful. If you follow thw route from the end of the hreenway through Bierley and past ASDA to Bowling Park be very careful in Bowling Park. Extremely slippy under the trees. Personally I go up Staithgate Lane and past the Cedar Court Hotel and down through West Bowling.


Never used Über Member
At the risk of derailing the thread, this is what gets me about NCN R66 (and other Sustrans routes) is that you don't know what you're going to get, hence the OP post.

In my neck of the woods, R66 is cycle paths / roads right out from the Leeds beyond Temple Newsam, then at Thorp Park it goes onto a reasonable bridleway, then tarmac, then more bridleway through the woods down to Garforth (which you could probably do on a road bike for most of the year if you were sensible), then from Garforth there is over a mile on road, but the section through Parlington Woods to Aberford is really hybrid or CX/MTB only - rough stony track and then muddy and prone to standing water sections that in the depths of winter can be a struggle on a hybrid (especially through and around the haunted tunnel), but then from Aberford to Bramham it's all on road again, then a mile long section of stony farm track before purpose built tarmac cycleway right to Wetherby.

There is no way I'd ride either of my road bikes through Parlington, or on the section near Bramham, but they'd be ideal for the rest of the route, whilst the hybrid (or an MTB) would be heavy, slow and under-geared for the long tarmac sections.

I'm not saying that the route should be laid end to end with tarmac (Parlington is fun on the right bike precisely because it's off road), but imagine trying to do the route on your carbon steed with 25mm slick tyres and finding it stuck in 4 inches of mud...surely it's not beyond the wit of Sustrans to highlight which sections are suitable for what type of bike and, where appropriate, show suitable diversions?


Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
surely it's not beyond the wit of Sustrans to highlight which sections are suitable for what type of bike and, where appropriate, show suitable diversions?
They're mostly marked with surface types on and that's used by to make routing decisions, with any unsurfaced bits highlighted in green (so you can drag to avoid them).

But I think it's high time the National Routes should meet some very basic national standard so you don't get surprised by deep mud (or in the case of NCN1 north of Norwich, deep deep sand). The free-for-all stuff should be called something else.
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