|To:||Cross Roads (SE045376)|
|Via:||Todmorden, Hebden Bridge|
|Length:||18.4 miles (29.6 km)|
|Meets:||A58, A681, A646, B6141, B6144, B6142, A629|
|Former Number(s):||A6067, A681|
|Route outline (key)|
The A6033 is the combination of two inter-valley roads, the first section of which having been given primary status following the downgrade of the A58.
Littleborough - Hebden Bridge
The A6033 kicks off in Littleborough, at a signalised junction with the A58. The initial section of the road is very straight, albeit narrow, not helped by parked vehicles either side. Small route-confirmation signs advise this is actually the all-weather diversion for M62 traffic, so it is easy to imagine how chaotic this road is after a snowfall!
Eventually, the straight road turns into a very twisty affair as the road climbs up to the village of Summit and then crosses over a railway at the southern portal of the famous Summit Tunnel, known not only for its engineering quality but also the Summit Tunnel fire in December 1984 when a derailed fuel tanker burned away for hours inside the tunnel firing huge fireballs into the sky via the tunnel's blast vents (designed for steam engines - but unwittingly these saved the tunnel from destruction and likely closure).
The road itself gains a 40 limit beyond Summit and as soon as it enters Calderdale the limit raises further to 50 mph through some sweeping curves and the accident troublespot at the Bird i'th'Hand pub, before dropping back to 40 through Walsden. A 30 limit commences some distance into the village and the road starts the urban slog into Todmorden, picking up the A681 by the Gauxholme Railway Viaduct. After a short while, the A646 beckons, and A6033 traffic should head right towards Hebden Bridge.
This multiplex is quite lengthy, and to access the second part of the A6033 requires traversing an unclassified road in Hebden Bridge town centre, as the A6033/A646 junction in Hebden Bridge faces east. These unusual features can be explained by the fact that Hebden Bridge was the original southern terminus of the road; the extension to Littleborough came in 1935.
Hebden Bridge - Cross Roads
The road through Hebden Bridge is non-primary and signs can be changed over in winter to close the road. What follows is a very twisty climb out of the town, with parked cars and narrow carriageway widths being a nightmare in winter.
After the turn for Hardcastle Crags, a short 50 mph section up the side of the valley begins. To the left, about half a mile away, is Heptonstall but vehicular access requires a 3-mile detour! It has been flippantly suggested that this would be an ideal location for a British equivalent of the Millau Viaduct, bypassing Hebden entirely and allowing for a Calder Valley Fast Route. Of course, the bohemian atmosphere in the valley below might scupper any plans...
Back to the real world: after a sharp right-hander, traffic finds itself on top of the hills, through Peckett Well. The limit is, sensibly, now 30 mph as more bends take the road even higher. Once out of the village, in truly wild moorland, the road blasts off as a glorious moorland national speed limit route. Some deceptive bends do exist so don't try to floor it throughout, and be most aware of southbound traffic overtaking as their visibility down the hill is fantastic.
Out of Calderdale, the road enters the City of Bradford MDC and the speed limit is gradually reduced from 60 mph to 20 mph through Oxenhope (full of bikers and Brontë enthusiasts!), before setting off towards Keighley on what is much more of a dull urban drag once again. The road ends at a mini-roundabout junction with the A629.
As may be expected the original southern end of the A6033 was on the A646 in Hebden Bridge. The western section gained the number in 1935, presumably to give continuity to a Pennine crossing despite the lengthy multiplex. Originally the road south out of Todmorden was the A681, then when that road turned off westwards (at the same point is still does) the A6067 continued south to Littleborough.