All Leeds United supporters might know of Elland Road, but do they know where to find Elland itself? As it happens, it is about 50km there and back from Saddleworth. Be warned though: it's a lumpy 50km, as you'll soon discover as you climb out of the Tame Valley and drop into the deep valleys of the Colne, the Calder, and the Ryburn, so you'll need good brakes and strong legs.
The start is in Uppermill, Saddleworth. If you drive here, it's handy for M62 junction 22 and there is free all-day parking by the leisure centre. If arriving by train, Greenfield Station has connections to Manchester and Leeds. TransPennine Trains allow a limited number of bikes on trains which they insist must be pre-booked, a policy ruthlessly observed.
The ride commences with the climb over Standedge; watch out for that left turn to Tunnel End as you drop towards Marsden. As the name might suggest, this is where the canal and railway emerge after crossing under the watershed.
Follow the Colne valley for a short while until you meet White Hill and a challenging climb of Pole Moor as you skirt of Slaithwaite ('sla-wit' or 'slath-wait' but never 'slayth-wait' apparently). There then follows a delightful lane, under the M62 and following the valley below Scammonden Dam to reach Stainland and Elland. Refreshments are available at the cafe inside Morrisons at Elland, or indeed any cafe of your choice there.
Return through Greetland and Barkisland (apparently it is 'Barkis-land' rather than anything to do with the Isle of Dogs). There is then a fast descent towards Ripponden, where you'll find a Co-op, with a cafe further up the road at Rishworth.
A prominent landmark at Uppermill
You could continue to Denshaw on the A672, but the route sheet gives a small diversion to the foot of Booth Wood Reservoir and passing close to the spot where the M62 passes either side of Stott Hall Farm. You eventually head over Windy Hill, cross the M62 and drop through Denshaw and Delph.
For variety, if you enjoy this ride, you could always ride it again in the opposite direction.
Tunnel End near Marsden
☕ Some Useful Café Suggestions:
27km: Elland, Cafe at Morrisons, Bubble & Sqeak Cafe 36km: Rishworth, Just Scrumptious Cafe 56km: Uppermill, Many cafes, including Abaco and Cellar Pot