|To:||Denholme Clough (SE072329)|
|Distance:||16 miles (25.7 km)|
|Meets:||A638, B6117, A62, M62, A643, A641, A6025, A58, A6036, A647, B6145, A629|
|Route outline (key)|
The A644 is a largely urban A-road in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Section 1: Dewsbury – Brighouse
The road begins as a primary route in Dewsbury, off the A638 Ring Road. We begin as a 40 mph D2 by passing under the railway bridge at Webster Hill, climbing briefly before the road flattens out, narrows and becomes a 30 mph S2. The road declines briefly just before we pass through the village of Ravensthorpe and, for the next few miles into Brighouse, there is hardly any gradient at all as we follow closely the River Calder. We head in a generally westerly direction passing through Mirfield, the birthplace of Patrick Stewart. It becomes a 40 mph limit road as it leaves Mirfield and continues in this way until it reaches the Three Nuns junction with the A62. It multiplexes with the A62 for about ¼ mile until we reach the Cooper Bridge roundabout. The A644 number is dominant, perhaps because the A62 is non-primary here.
We take the second exit at the roundabout, continuing on the A644 towards the M62, passing close to a large scrapyard on one side of the road and the grave of Robin Hood on the other. The latter is in the grounds of the former Kirklees Priory, which gives its name to the Kirklees borough we've just left (despite itself being in Calderdale!). We are now also travelling on a 50 mph limit road. We arrive at a large roundabout, just to the side of the Kirklees Viaduct on the M62 at Junction 25. This section is a notorious bottleneck, and coming the other way from the M62 towards Cooper Bridge, queues of a couple of miles long are not atypical during rush hour.
At this point we lose our primary status, but we gain a short stretch of Dual Carriageway for about a third of a mile as we approach Brighouse. We enter a 30 mph limit and lose the dual carriageway and arrive at a mess of a junction in Brighouse where we meet the A643 and A641. The A644 originally ended in Brighouse but was extended further in 1935, to more than double its route, along the former A648.
Section 2: Brighouse – Denholme Clough
Following the A644 signs through town is pretty easy (for some reason we're now dominant over the A643), and pretty soon we are climbing out of Brighouse - and indeed we continue to climb pretty much all the rest of the way.
The road remains a 30 mph limit for about 2 miles, becomes a 40 mph for a short stretch outside the Crosslee Tumble Drier factory and then reverts to a 30 mph limit road just in time to arrive at Hipperholme Crossroads, which is where we cross the A58.
Climb out of Hipperholme and you'll arrive in pretty open space, the first on this road since it began, as well as gaining a 40 mph limit that we keep for about 1 mile, before it becomes a 30 mph just before the Stone Chair roundabout with the A6036.
We go straight on at the roundabout and continue climbing onto the moors, becoming a 50 mph for a couple of miles, until approaching Queensbury, we meet the A647 at a crossroads and become a 30 again.
We climb out of Queensbury, losing the 30 and then become a 50 until just before we meet the B6145 at a traffic-light-controlled crossroads, where we become a 40. We go straight on into the village of Denholme Clough and after about 400 yards we have to come to a stop and carry out a U-turn.
This is because we have arrived at a pair of No Entry signs. The final section of the A644 and its junction with the A629 is deemed too dangerous, and for the past twenty years at least, traffic can only join the A644 from the A629 travelling towards Halifax. So at these No Entry signs our journey, and the A644, ends. What we should have done was turn left at the last set of traffic lights, along what was the western end of the B6145 although most maps now mark it as a spur of the A644, as this would have allowed full access to the A629 in both directions.