Saturday, 16 May 2020

Spen Valley Greenway.

The Spen Valley Greenway is a cycle-pedestrian corridor connecting Low Moor with Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, passing through the towns of Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike and Liversedge on route. The route runs for approx. 8 miles along the former routes of the Spen Valley Railway and Ravensthorpe Branch Lines. 

The Greenway was planned after Sustrans acquired the trackbed in 1998, and opened in 2000. In addition to the remaining bridges, occasional railway signposts and ornamental benches along the route, there are artworks including Sally Matthews flock of Swaledale sheep and Trudi Entwistle's Rotate. The route is traffic free and pretty flat along it's length, with a few small gentle slopes up and down. There are supermarkets along the route including a Tesco alongside the former site of Cleckheaton Station and a Morrison's a short walk from the site of what was Heckmondwike Station.

The following is a short video i put together of the pictures I took along the line, it includes images of the station sites whilst still operational.

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Before conversion from an overgrown and abandoned former railway to a pleasant tarmacked cycle and pedestrian route, the greenway had a life as a railway known as the Mirfield and Low Moor Railway. The original double track line opening was in 2 stages, from Low Moor to Mirfield on the 18th July 1848, and the Ravensthorpe Branch connecting Thornhill with Heckmondwike on the 1st June 1849. At it's height the line had 8 stations along it's route which included Low Moor, Cleckheaton Central, Liversedge Central, Heckmondwike Central after which the line split with stops at Northorpe North Road and Mirfield along the Mirfield route, and Ravensthorpe Lower and Thornhill along the Ravensthorpe Branch Line. The line remained in use until passenger services were withdrawn in July 1965 and goods traffic ended in the late 1980's.

There are currently small campaigns trying to get the line reopened, as much of the trackbed remains clear and unbuilt upon this seems an easy but perhaps expensive plan. There is currently a population of over 50000 along the Spen Valley Route with limited access to rail without commuting. There are competing plans featuring heavy rail and light rail proposals.

I walked the route on the 30th December 2019 and took a set of 80 pictures which can be seen on Flickr and Clickasnap by clicking here.

Spen Valley Greenway
Use the arrows to navigate the album. The pictures below are taken from the above album.

Spen Valley Line Sunrise

Wyke Lane Tunnel

Whitcliffe Road Bridge on the Spen Valley Greenway

Railway Sleepers on the Spen Valley Greenway

Sally Matthew's Flock of Swaledale Sheep Sculpture on the Spen Valley Greenway

Liversedge Tunnel, Spen Valley Greenway

Rotate by Trudi Entwistle on the Spen Valley Greenway

Spen Valley Greenway, Former Heckmondwike Central Station Site

Railway Viaduct across the River Calder
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