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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (5)
From:  Barnsdale Bar (SE509136)
To:  Leeds (SE309321)
Distance:  19.9 miles (32 km)
Meets:  A1, A6201, A628, A645, M62, A656, A6539, A655, A6032, A642, A654, M1, A61, A653
Former Number(s):  A61
Old route now:  A656, A6539, B6481
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Doncaster • Leeds • Wakefield

Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
A639 Barnsdale Bar – Pontefract
A639 Pontefract
A639 Pontefract - Leeds


A link from the Great North Road to Leeds, the A639 has lost its importance with the growth of the motorway network.

Section 1: Barnsdale Bar - Castleford

Roman Ridge

We turn off the A1 at Barnsdale Bar, a few miles north west of Doncaster, where we also meet the A6201, and continue heading northwest on a non-primary NSL S2. This first part of the road is very straight and traces the line of the Roman Ridge Roman Road. After a couple of miles we arrive at a crossroads with the B6474 which we take at up to 40MPH. After that it's up to 50MPH, then down to 30MPH, back up to 40MPH again and finally, as we approach the outskirts of Pontefract, back down to 30MPH, just before we arrive at a junction where the A628 comes to an end. At this junction we will briefly pick up primary status, before we continue into town and meet a double roundabout, where the A645 crosses our path and takes our primary status back to the Great North Road (now the A162). Up until 2016, this was an awkward signal controlled junction which would queue in all directions for most of the day. The roundabouts mean that, while queues still exist, they are often moving queues.

We negotiate Pontefract on a short length of 30MPH D2 that climbs and then immediately drops down as we leave the town centre before approaching a roundabout, where if you fancy a day at the races you would turn left to park.

We continue straight on, back onto 40MPH S2, past the former Prince of Wales colliery and then we arrive at a roundabout where the M62 has its Junction 32.

We pass under the motorway and immediately arrive at a signal-controlled junction. At this point, we used to head straight on, but the route of the A639 has now been moved onto newly built roundabout-infested roads around the south of the Freeport shopping village and Xscape Indoor Skiing and Leisure Centre. We pick up our original course shortly afterwards on a 30MPH S2 as we pass to the south of Castleford Town Centre.

Section 2: Castleford – Leeds

We enter a very short 40MPH zone as we pass through the area of Whitwood, but once we cross the A655 at a roundabout we are back into a 30. There's a slight decline now as we cross the River Calder and pass a very wrong road sign which gives the wrong road number and more than doubles the distance to Leeds from here.

There's a short stretch of NSL just prior to the village of Methley, which is a 40, and then back onto a straight section of NSL for a couple of miles heading towards Oulton, before we arrive at a roundabout with the A642. We need to turn right, onto a 40MPH D2 and then after a couple of hundred yards we encounter another roundabout, where the A642 leaves us on the right and continues north to the A1, and where the A654 comes to an end from the left.


We go straight on and uphill, continuing on our 40MPH D2 with a number of signal controlled junctions for about 2–3 miles before the road levels off and then begins to drop down slightly.

We meet the M1 at its J44, a dumbbell roundabout junction. We go straight on over the motorway and then take the first exit at the second roundabout. The original course of the A639 is signed at this roundabout ahead as the B6481, which is a 30MPH S2 that passes through the industrial estates of Stourton. At rush hour it is quite possible to see a queue the entire length of the B6481 as commuters try to fight their way into Leeds by any road possible. The A639 continues briefly as D2 before the A61 arrives from Wakefield and briefly takes over the road up to Stourton Interchange, junction 7 of the M621 (but formerly junction 43 of the M1). Indeed, the over-engineering of this junction is as a result of the then-M1 originally ending at this point and therefore needing to merge into the existing road system.

The routing changes of the A61 and A639 in Leeds over the past 40 years could fill an article in itself. Suffice to say that the A61 now multiplexes along the motorway to junction 4, whereas its historical path north is the A639, now a 40MPH S2. We pass the HQ of the First Direct bank on our right before encountering the traffic light junction where the B6481 ex-A639 ends - the point where the A639 used to end on the A61.

We bear to the left and continue towards the City Centre, entering a 30MPH zone and also now on a typical urban D2. We arrive at a large signalled junction where the new A61 sails overhead on the 2008 John Smeaton Viaduct (named after an 18th-century civil engineer). Turning left here returns you to the motorway; to turn right, you need to wait for the next junction where a spur of the A61 leads up to the viaduct over the river Aire.

We however continue forward on the Hunslet Road, now more of an S4, through a couple more traffic-light junctions before we sort-of come to an end, where the A653 comes in from the right and takes over the main route. It's difficult to pinpoint a particular ending point for the A639 on Hunslet Lane, but going north it seems to be at the junction with Black Bull Street; going south, at the junction with Crown Point Road.

Original Author(s): Chris W

Related Pictures
View gallery (5)
Leeds road Rothwell - Geograph - 1548424.jpgA639 south leeds - Coppermine - 9176.jpgThorpe Grange Farm, Thorpe Audlin, on... (C) Bill Henderson - Geograph - 234832.jpgA639 crosses the M1 - Geograph - 3783615.jpgM62 A639 junction - Geograph - 1265437.jpg
Other nearby roads
A1(M) • A628 • A645 • B6134 • B6210 (Pontefract) • B6428 • E15 • E20 • E22 • E31 (via Carlisle) • E31 (via Newcastle) • E109 (Old System) • M62 • M100
A655 • A656 • A6032 • A6539 • B6136 • B6421 • E20 • E22 • M62
A58 • A58(M) • A61 • A62 • A62(M) • A63 • A64 • A64(M) • A65 • A65(M) • A613 (Leeds) • A642 • A643 • A647 • A653 • A654 • A657 • A658 • A660 • A6110 • A6120 • A6183 (Kirkhamgate - Dishforth) • B1217 • B6123 • B6125 • B6126 • B6127 • B6137 • B6152 • B6153 • B6154 • B6157 • B6158 (Leeds) • B6159 • B6451 • B6481 (Leeds) • B6902 • E20 • E22 • E106 (Northampton - Leeds) • E109 (Old System) • Leeds North East Urban Motorway • M1 • M19 • M62 • M65 (Gildersome - Leeds) • M111 • M621 • T16 (Britain) • T20 (Britain) • T21 (Britain) • T66 (Britain) • T69 (Britain) • T71 (Britain)
A600 • A601 • A602 • A603 • A604 • A605 • A606 • A607 • A608 • A609 • A610 • A611 • A612 • A613 • A614 • A615 • A616 • A617 • A618 • A619
A620 • A621 • A622 • A623 • A624 • A625 • A626 • A627 • A628 • A629 • A630 • A631 • A632 • A633 • A634 • A635 • A636 • A637 • A638 • A639
A640 • A641 • A642 • A643 • A644 • A645 • A646 • A647 • A648 • A649 • A650 • A651 • A652 • A653 • A654 • A655 • A656 • A657 • A658 • A659
A660 • A661 • A662 • A663 • A664 • A665 • A666 • A667 • A668 • A669 • A670 • A671 • A672 • A673 • A674 • A675 • A676 • A677 • A678 • A679
A680 • A681 • A682 • A683 • A684 • A685 • A686 • A687 • A688 • A689 • A690 • A691 • A692 • A693 • A694 • A695 • A696 • A697 • A698 • A699
Defunct Itineraries & Motorways: A601(M) • A604(M) • A613 • A622 • A627(M) • A632 • A635(M) • A638(M) • A648 • A666(M) • A687 • A695(M) • A696(M)

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