Monday, 31 August 2015

Crooked Lane, Holmfield

Looking south, down the Ovenden Valley, towards Halifax.  Clayton Heights is the promontory to the left. Crooked Lane climbs up that.

Queensbury, one of the highest villages in England, sits at top of Clayton Heights, a large ridge that rises up, separating Thornton Dale from Shibden Dale to the North and South,  with the Ovenden valley to the West.  It's the same ridge that, at its southern end, Lee Lane (Shibden Wall) and Ploughcroft Lane climb up.

Queensbury is actually relatively recent.  It's named for a pub that sat on the junction of the main pack horse routes between Halifax and Thornton.  The older way starts the climb up to Northowram on the Hough.  The "new" turnpike route, straight up the spine of the ridge, passing the top of Lee Lane and Ploughcroft Lane and up to Catherine Slack ("Slack" is a Viking derived topological word, meaning "hollow", and occurs quite a lot in the area).  Once you've climbed up any of these routes, it's obvious why you might want to stop at a pub at the top.

Just further up the valley from Ovenden sits Holmfield and the (now) smaller hamlet of Holdsworth. All joined as one, and still showing signs of some industry, including the remains of the Holmfield branch railway which used to go the interesting way to connect Halifax, Queensbury and Thornton.

The climb starts at Brow Lane, the old route (it's on the 1771 map) from Holdsworth up to Shibden Head.   It's still signed as a 1:4 hill (25% in modern parlance).  This is a nice climb straight up the side, however, as Brow Lane changes to Windy Bank Lane, you find the entrance to Crooked Lane.
Bottom of Crooked Lane

Crooked Lane is almost a fantastic climb.  Cobbles almost all the way to the top, with just a bit of metalled road for a few metres.  However, when I rode it (30 August 2015), some fly-tipping had taken place.  The left hand side was blocked (looked like some kind of garden waste), and broken glass, plastic was strewn over a large section.  Discretion being the better part of not getting punctures, I carried the bike cyclo-cross style for a bit.  Which did give me a chance to take a photo towards the top.  The views are fantastic, the climb is hard.  Just not sure what to do about the fly tipping, which might mean that the cobbles are never cleared again.
Someone took the time to leave a review of the climb

Segment Details


  1. "Review" - funny. I like the sign on Google Maps that used to say "unsuitable for motor vehicles" and now just says "unsuitable". 15% average... sounds nearly as tough as Trooper Lane. I have to go and check this out now...

  2. Its a nice climb, especially after climbing though Ovenden to get there. Easier than I expected. The tip seems to have been mostly cleared up. Its just rubble on the floor now.

  3. Good news on the debris (It was about a foot deep on the left hand side when I rode up), I shall have to investigate. It's worth getting Shibden Wall and Ploughcroft Lane in, as they are only half a mile further along the ridge.