From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|Length:||39.2 miles (63.1 km)|
|Huddersfield • Leeds • Manchester • Oldham •|
|Route outline (key)|
A62: Manchester - Leeds
The A62, which runs from Manchester to Leeds, via Oldham and Huddersfield, was once the main route across the Pennines, connecting the largest city in Lancashire with Yorkshire’s largest city. However with the completion of the M62 towards Leeds in the early 1970’s it lost much of its importance and traffic to the motorway, which runs a few miles to the north. These days, the A62 serves as a busy primary route between Manchester and Oldham, a very quiet route over the Pennines, and then a local road linking Huddersfield with Leeds.
Manchester - Leeds
We commence our journey in the middle of Manchester by leaving Piccadilly and making for Lever Street. We head out easterly on a busy street (non – primary) until we meet the Ring Road where we pick up primary status that we retain until Oldham. We turn left at this point and then immediately right to start the A62 proper.
The first part of our journey will take us to Oldham, through the suburbs of Manchester. We retain our 30MPH limit all the way until Oldham. The first mile or two is decent D2 and D3 and pretty flat, where we will pass what seems to be an enormous Chinese restaurant The D2 turns into a mixture of S2 and S4 for the next couple of miles as we pass through the suburbs of Manchester. We have junctions with the B6393 and also the A663 which forks off to the left. We pass through Failsworth and shortly after that we meet the M60 at a huge signalled junction. We cross over the motorway and almost immediately begin climbing uphill, now back on proper urban D2, but blighted by traffic lights every 400 yards or so.
After about 3 miles we arrive at a roundabout underneath a fly-over that makes up part of the Oldham Bypass. To the left the road is numbered the A627 and heads past Boundary Park, the home of Oldham Athletic Football Club before continuing towards the M62. Ahead at this point is Oldham town centre, which the A62 used to plough straight through. These days we are routed to the right and join the bypass to briefly multiplex with the A627, but not for long as almost immediately after we join, A627 traffic heading for Ashton leaves. At this point we lose our primary status, but we will briefly regain it around Huddersfield. We continue on the mainline, heading gently downhill on 50MPH D2.
We arrive at a large signal controlled roundabout at the bottom of the hill, meeting the A669. After that it’s a short gentle climb on a mixture of 30MPH D2 and S4 until we arrive at more traffic lights, where the A672 forks off to the left to begin its way towards Halifax. We cross the junction and you’ll begin to realise that you are pretty much on your own, even during the day. This is because at this point you are about to begin the crossing of the Pennines and these days most traffic that intends fully crossing them towards Huddersfield will be on the motorway. This leaves the road very quiet until we get to the other side of the Pennine crossing at Marsden, which we shall pass in about 10 miles or so.
Anyway, we begin to climb uphill, still in a 30MPH zone passing by Austerlands and onwards towards Scouthead where we see for the first time on our journey, those lovely NSL signs. We then begin to drop downhill back into the valley on a winding road which has had retaining walls rebuilt over the years. We pass another Chinese restaurant on the left, formerly a pub. As we get towards the village of Delph in the valley bottom we need to slow down to 40mph and then to 30mph as we pass through the village centre.
We then begin climbing again for the main part of the Pennine crossing and by this point you will really be on your own. It’s 50mph S2 with a climbing lane for us travelling eastwards. We make our way rapidly uphill passing the Saddleworth Moor Hotel on the right. Shortly after that we pass by the beginning of the A670. At this point you pass by the site of a Roman Fort. Still climbing and we lose the climbing lane for the final mile. Once the road crosses into Kirklees NSL is resumed.
This pass at Standedge between Diggle and Marsden is a major crossing of the Pennines for several modes of transport—both the Huddersfield Canal and the London & North Western Railway used it, although unlike the A62 they tunnelled through it – the 1811 canal tunnel is claimed as the longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel in the country.
The road levels out and the crests the hill, passing Redbrook reservoir on the right and then we start to drop downhill. Those of you who are not local to the area and end up on this road should be warned at this point of an unusual feature of the next section of road. As I keep saying, this road is very quiet these days and so due to the lack of traffic the local sheep population who should graze on the moors at either side will regularly roam across the road and even sit in the middle of it. So even though this bit of road looks like a road to put your foot down, a head on collision with a sheep at 60MPH WILL damage your car, and the sheep too. It’s very wide S2 initially with a climbing lane for those travelling westwards further down the hill.
We pass a transport café on the right which will have seen busier days in the past, before entering a 30MPH zone as we finally stop dropping or climbing and enter Marsden.
The next six miles until Huddersfield see us driving through the Colne Valley. We keep the river to our left all the way, and the road stays on the right hand side of the valley. After we pass through Marsden, the road becomes a 40MPH S2 until we reach the village of Slaithwaite. There are many different pronunciations of this name (Slawit, Slathwate). The recent claim to fame of this area is the location of Anglia TV’s “Where the Heart Is”. We enter a 30MPH zone that we shall not leave until Huddersfield town centre. Linthwaite is the next village to pass through, followed by Cowlersley and the edge of Milnsbridge before our last former village of Thornton Lodge.
After that a short flat part and a climb until we meet the late 1960’s Huddersfield Ring Road. At this point we pick up primary status and give our number to the Ring Road in both directions. The Ring Road is generally D2 with some D3 sections, containing a GSJ trumpet interchange, signalled crossroads, roundabouts and even a tunnel at various points. Depending on which direction you have taken you will arrive at a signalled crossroads where the A62, now once again non – primary leaves towards Leeds.
It’s 30MPH D2 for a bit and we pass retail parks on our left and right. The Galpharm (née McAlpine) Stadium is on the right. 40MPH signs make an appearance and we narrow to S2. We pass a huge chemical works on the right that employs hundreds and then the site of another former chemical works, which is now a new industrial park that is the new home of Poundstretcher and Instore. We continue for a mile or so until a set of traffic lights where the B6118 and A6107 end. We carry straight on, into a short NSL section and meet the A644 at Cooper Bridge roundabout.
We turn to the right, now restricted to 40MPH for a short S4 multiplex with the A644, for about 400 yards until we head up the hill in front of the Three Nuns public house on normal S2. We climb for a mile, levelling out at the top near Roberttown before dropping downhill into Heckmondwike. As we enter the town we slow once again to 30mph.
We cross the A638 at a set of traffic lights and then begin to climb the next hill, leaving the 30mph signs behind just after another set of lights where the A651 comes to an end to enter another 40mph zone. Once again as soon as we reach the top of the hill, we are no sooner dropping downhill again, this time towards Birstall and a six way signalled crossroads with the A652 and the ancient precursor to the road we have just travelled from Heckmondwike on. Just before the lights we re-enter a 30mph zone.
We start climbing yet again, crossing the A643 and gaining our Gelderd Road name that we retain until the end of the road in Leeds. We level out as we approach the junction with the M62. Prior to the junction we gain some 40MPH signs before passing through the retail park. Twenty years ago, there was nothing here at all but these days it is the home of the local IKEA and it’s associated traffic.
We pass underneath the M62 on a short stretch of primary NSL D2 before we reach the roundabout with the A650. We carry straight on, immediately back into a 40MPH zone and losing the very briefly held primary status before we pass through a set of lights for an industrial estate and then more lights for a crossroads with the B6126 at Gildersome.
After that, it’s downhill for about 2 miles on wide NSL S2+1, running alongside the M621 through open countryside for the final run into Leeds. Just before we cross the A6110 Ring Road at a set of lights, we need to slow down to 40mph. After the lights, it’s a couple of hundred yards until a new roundabout where we will go straight on.
After many miles of hills, this last mile is pancake flat passing through an area that is currently being redeveloped. We slow down to 30mph about a hundred yards before we come to an end, at a roundabout with the A58.