|Via:||Huddersfield, Halifax, Keighley|
|Distance:||56.4 miles (90.8 km)|
|Meets:||A630, A6123, A6109, B6086, M1, B6087, A6135, B6546, A61, A616, B6462, B6449, A628, B6115, B6116, B6433, A642, B6432, A62, A643, M62, A6025, A6026, A646, A58, B6145, A644, B6141, B6429, B6144, A6033, A6035, B6143, B6265, A650, A6034, A6068, B6172, A6131, A59, A65|
|Old route now:||B6074, A61, B6546, B6462, A6131|
|Route outline (key)|
The A629 is a long A-road across from the industrial towns of Yorkshire onto the moors.
Section 1: Rotherham – Halifax
The road used to start in Rotherham town centre, at a junction with the A630. It still does begin at that route, but now at a large roundabout a few hundred yards away on the A630's present alignment bypassing the town centre. We travel down a short D2 section and over a couple of roundabouts, before losing the dual-carriageway status as we ascend a long, rather narrow hill through Kimberworth, which is, incidentally, where footballer David Seaman was born.
The nondescript suburbs lead to our crossing the M1 at junction 35, and then a poorly-signed, very steep descent into Chapeltown. The gradient must be 12 or 13%, and has an acute right-angled bend and a junction with a side road at the base, yet there are no signs warning of any of this.
We then reach a roundabout junction with the A6135 where we disappear for a short distance - the road straight ahead being the B6546 (although the OS map it as the B113). This was the A629 but as this section has a weight restriction of 7.5 tons, the road has been downgraded to discourage through traffic, which is directed via the M1 and A616. We reappear, with primary status, on the A61 at Hazelshaw; there used to be a short multiplex here.
We cross the A616 (a road that the A629 never used to meet) at a GSJ (although both roads are S2), then a couple of (again poorly signed) 90° bends right and left take us through Wortley. The peculiarly-named Thurgoland is travelled through, then we cross the A628 at the Hoylandswaine Roundabout as we cross unassuming farmland and bypass Penistone (the old road is now the B6462). The next few miles of road used to have a suicide lane, but this has now been removed.
A staggered junction takes us past the A635, then a descent down a long 9% gradient leads on to Shepley. The road then undulates over the next few miles, until we meet the A642 on the outskirts of Huddersfield. A recently-resurfaced section with long stretches of bus lane takes us towards the town centre.
We used to travel right into the town centre, but we now turn left, and take the (varying between D2 and D3) ring road instead (whose official number is A62). We pass the turnings for the A616, A62 and A640 before picking up the old alignment again and heading through Edgerton, and towards Halifax.
We meet the A643 at a roundabout junction, from where a spur of the A629 leads to the M62 at J24. Then comes possibly the most dramatic part of the route: a short tunnel under the M62 leads to a spectacular view of the Calder Valley. A steep, fast descent, albeit subject to a 50mph speed limit, on the now-D2 road takes us down into Halifax, crossing the river Calder on a new bridge as we go. We meet the A6025 at a GSJ, then the A6026 at an at-grade set of traffic lights. A short, steep climb of 11%, (which has a crawler lane that is too narrow, so it is rather wasted), takes us to the junction with the A646.
Section 2: Halifax – Skipton
The section of the A629 from Halifax to Keighley has the unusual distinction of having been upgraded to primary route in recent years, but without any major reconstruction at all. A lot of the signs on the route are many years old, but those that are new do show the upgraded status.
In the centre of Halifax we cross the A58 Burdock Way at a very large roundabout. The first mile or so beyond is a 40MPH D2 bypass that clings to the hillside. The original road is lower down the hillside, passing through the Dean Clough mill complex. The road then narrows to S2 and also reduces to a 30MPH limit and begins to climb uphill towards Illingworth. After we pass through it, the road becomes a 50MPH one, but enforced by GATSOs every ½ mile, for the next two. It's wide S2 at this point and continues for a couple of miles until a set of traffic lights, where we meet the A644 which has paralleled our route from the motorway; that road leads quickly to the B6145 which runs into the centre of Bradford. A short distance further on, a one-way spur of the A644 bears off very sharply to the right along an unbelievably narrow bit of road. On the day I confirmed the details for this bit of road before doing this write-up, there had been an accident at this precise point.
As we approach Denholme, we need to slow down to 30MPH to pass safely through the narrow streets of the village. The B6141 to Oxenhope leaves to our left. We carry on through Denholme and out of the other side. We pass what was the Five Flags Hotel at the junction with the B6429. It's now been converted into flats and is scarcely recognisable.
We enter a short stretch of NSL as we drive across the top of Black Moor and we cross the B6144. We enter a short 30MPH zone just to have a roundabout with the A6033, which begins on its journey towards Hebden Bridge, 10 miles to the south. The A6033 also provides access to Haworth, home of the Brontës.
We begin to drop downhill into Keighley at this point, along the Worth valley, initially at up to 40MPH but as we get closer to the town centre, it's 30MPH. We have a set of lights with the A6035 and then a roundabout with the B6143. We then pass through the middle of the town centre encountering a new sign on the way that appears to show two A629s ahead. This anomaly is explained at the next roundabout where Hard Ings Road joins from the left.
At this roundabout, the A629 used to continue ahead through Steeton towards Kildwick, but was bypassed in the late eighties due to horrendous traffic jams especially during the holiday season. This road was renumbered B6265 when the bypass opened. In the 2010s, the B6265 was further extended along the former A650 through Bingley so that these days the road goes from just outside York to Saltaire, via Boroughbridge, Ripon, Pateley Bridge, Grassington, Skipton, Keighley and Bingley (although there's a gap to the south of Skipton making it a technical duplicate). Maybe one day, it will make a complete circuit.
Anyway, at this roundabout we turn right before we immediately turn left onto the Aire Valley Road. It's NSL D2 along the valley bottom. We have a roundabout with the A6034 which heads towards Addingham but we carry on the other side of this roundabout for another couple of miles before we reach another roundabout at Kildwick.
At this point the original A629 crosses our path from left to right to briefly "bounce" off the village, before it rejoins the new alignment. From this point on, we are on NSL S2 that keeps to the right hand side of the valley floor. We pass through a crossroads at Cononley, which the HA were looking to alter, but the proposed plans were recently abandoned.
We then get to another roundabout, which marks the beginning of the early 1980s Skipton bypass. The original route of the A629, now numbered as the A6131, took us into the centre of Skipton, like all the numbered roads around here, but the Skipton bypass project altered all four main roads into Skipton so that none of them actually go into the town centre. At the roundabout we take the first exit for our final leg, which once again is NSL S2, which skirts the town to the Southeast. We finish at a roundabout with the A65 and A59.
Andy says that the A629 used to start in the centre of Rotherham - but this only dates back to 1935. Before that it started in Sheffield, branching off the A57 along Nursery Street and Neepsend Lane (now the B6074) to reach the present route of the A61. When that road was re-routed this way (its old route is now the A6135), the A629 was itself re-routed into Rotherham, taking over the A632's route. The latter eventually found a second home between Matlock and Cuckney.
- The A629 Trunk Road (City Boundary to Hard Ings Roundabout) (Detrunking) Order 2007 - order detrunking a section of the A629 following the 1998 consultation A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England
- The A629 Trunk Road (Snaygill Roundabout to County Boundary) (Detrunking) Order 2007 - order detrunking a section of the A629 following the 1998 consultation A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England
- The A629 Trunk Road (Thorlby Roundabout to Snaygill Roundabout) (Detrunking) Order 2007 - order detrunking a section of the A629 following the 1998 consultation A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England