From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
|Via:||Guiseley, Settle, Kirkby Longsdale|
|Length:||69 miles (111 km)|
|Meets:||A58(M), A6120, A658, A6038, A660, A6034, A59, A629, A682, A687, A683, A6070, A590, A6|
|Kendal • Kirkby Lonsdale • Leeds • Skipton •|
|Route outline (key)|
Leeds - Kendal
No longer the main primary route north from Leeds (the A660 now does the honours, see separate posting), the A65 heads west from City Square, through the western suburbs of Kirkstall, then out into the commuter belt of Rawdon and Menston, and finally meeting the A660 at Burley-in-Wharfedale. As I've said elsewhere, it would have made more sense for the A660 to be the A65, and form one continuous primary road, but that would have been far too sensible. Most of the remainder of the A65 is a primary route, and fairly mixed in quality. It has some good bypass sections (Burley-in-Wharefdale - the only dualled stretch, Skipton, Settle), but also some fairly knackered overstretched bits (Long Preston-Settle, Kirkby Lonsdale - M6).
From Burley, the A65 snakes alongside the River Wharfe, through Ilkley (baht 'at) - long overdue a bypass - then onto Addingham, thankfully now with a bypass, mostly a three lane affair, up a damned big hill, and one of those single carriageway stretches where you can easily do 80 without thinking. The old road whizzes over the moors before descending to Skipton on a much-improved section. The market town of Skipton was, until the early 80s, one of the most notorious bottlenecks in the country, with the A59 and A65 trunk routes crossing, plus the A629 filtering in the traffic from Bradford. I remember queues of two or three miles each way into the narrow streets of the town on a fairly regular basis. The bypass, with A59/A65 now multiplexing, opened in about 1980 and is a godsend.
The A65 north of here is unimproved and bypasses for Gargrave and Long Preston, the latter being a particular bottleneck, have failed to materialise for many years. A narrow and twisty section north of Long Preston adds to the congestion on summer weekends, but things get better with the Settle bypass, a long straight and very fast section with good views of the Dales. Another twisty bit follows, but there is a good bypass (a fairly old one) of Clapham, before the drop down to Ingleton. The run to Kirkby Lonsdale, including a very brief section through the northern tip of Lancashire, is good and has been straightened out over recent years. The A65 avoids Kirkby village, but could do with a proper bypass and a high level bridge over the Lune to avoid the steep ascent out of the valley.
The next bit was improved before the money evidently ran out, and the last 5 miles to the M6 is a nightmare, tight and twisty, full of tractors and farm vehicles and little villages. With the coming of the M6 in 1971, a short dual carriageway spur was built to link to junction 36 - this was later extended as a dual carriageway link to the A6 at Levens and the Kendal bypass - originally the A591, but now A590. This new link makes the final section of the A65 into Kendal, via Endmoor and Oxenholme, redundant except for local traffic, but this still retains both its A-road and primary route classification for some reason.