RSF - The Off Road Cycling Club

The Adventure Starts Here


NPSP ride on Wednesday 15th March.


This was the third Rough Stuff ride I had led from Sandal Castle, the two previous ones being on the scenic but relatively flat 'Wonders of Wakefield' route, so this time I decided we would go in the opposite direction to take in a bit more of a challenging route. So on probably the sunniest day of the year so far the 'Magnificent 7' departed the Castle car park at 10.00am sharp setting off down Manygates Lane taking our first left along 'Castle Road West' which quickly led into a track that partially followed a route around the base of the Castle before a right turn brought us out onto the main track around Pugneys Lake and Country Park, here we found we were battling against a huge barrage of midges which suddenly completely engulfed us, covering our jackets, trousers and getting into our helmets.

P1030020P1030023We followed the main track around the lake coming out at the park entrance onto Denby Dale Road where a right turn took us onto the Calder and Hebble Canal towpath at Calder Island to pick up a short section of the afore mentioned 'Wonders of Wakefield' route running between the railway line and Wakefield Municipal Golf Course heading towards Horbury, we then passed beneath the M1 Motorway near to junction 39 to follow the canal to the claustrophobic, graffiti lined, fully enclosed tunnel footway and rail crossing over the River Calder at Calder Grove resisting the urge to call for a 'swift one for the road' at the Navigation Pub as we traversed their car park to re-join the Canal again where the only route across the Canal here was to carry our bikes over the lock on the not so wide timber footway. 
From here it was a steady but relatively hard single track climb up through the trees bringing us out on Blacker Lane near Netherton where a quick left and right took us up Hollinhurst Lane through the farm and onto Green Lane then South Lane before passing through the small hamlet known locally as 'Little London'. 
After crossing the main road at the appropriately named village of 'Midgely' we headed steeply downhill on the bridleway through Coxley woods towards Middlestown before a sharp left sharp left took us up Chapel Hill Bridleway. This was where I first met John Kemp who talked me into joining the RSF three years previously. A short downhill run from here took us through New Hall Farm and onto the quiet,  wooded, but dead straight tarmac climb near to the women's prison at New Hall, Flockton. It was then only a short run along a nice, fast, flat track over the fields which eventually dropped us down to our lunchtime break at the 'Yorkshire Mining Museum' where arrangements had been made for our arrival.
Locking our bikes to the fencing the unthinkable happened to one of our number, Peter T you are 'Named and Shamed' after locking your bike to the fence then realising you had left the key in the car back at Sandal. Luckily a quick chat with the Museum  maintainence crew quickly brought an angle grinder to the rescue to remove the offending part. We all had a good laugh before going into the Museum cafe for lunch.
Feeling suitably refreshed we walked our bikes out of the Museum yard so we could peer down the 140 metre deep illuminated ventilation shaft, but unfortunately did not have time to go on the underground tour which is well worth going on if anyone has never been to the Museum.
P1030028Back now on the main A642 Wakefield/Huddersfield Road heading towards Wakefield we turned sharp left past the Garden Centre and into a really fast tarmac descent down Wood Lane followed by a long steady climb up to the village of Briestfield. A short downhill track then followed only to be confronted by yet another uphill climb to bring us out at the Woolpack Inn in Whitley.
We quickly found ourselves on another fast Bridleway down through the middle of Dewsbury Golf Course followed by a further downhill through the trees on an old Yorkshire stone flagged path bringing us out in Ravensthorpe where a short road section brought us back onto the Canal at the start of the Spen Valley Greenway. A nice flat three mile run along the towpath then followed  passing through Horbury Bridge before detouring off the towpath to cross the River Calder at Addingford. A further single track took us to Dudfleet Lane in Horbury followed by a right And a left down Green Lane to rejoin our outward route between the Golf Course and the railway line again. We then quickly arrived back in Pugneys Country Park avoiding the midges this time and climbed back up to the Castle at Sandal which was now clearly back in view.
A varied ride of 28 miles with excellent company on good off road track that were refreshingly dry and not too muddy brought us back to the castle car park where our goodbyes were said and which concluded an excellent day in the saddle.
Bob Booth
Ossett, West Yorkshire.