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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (41)
From:  Leeds (SE290336)
To:  Kendal (SD518930)
Via:  Guiseley, Settle, Kirkby Longsdale
Distance:  69 miles (111 km)
Meets:  A58, A58(M), A6120, A658, A6038, A660, A6034, A59, A629, A682, A687, A683, A6070, M6, A590, A6
Former Number(s):  A59
Old route now:  A6069, B6480
Primary Destinations
Highway Authorities

Bradford • Westmorland and Furness • Lancashire • Leeds • North Yorkshire

Traditional Counties

Lancashire • Westmorland • Yorkshire

Route outline (key)
A65 Leeds - Burley in Wharfdale
A65 Burley in Wharfdale - Millness
A65 Millness - Kendal


The A65 is another of those Pennine crossings detrunked at the end of the 20th century. It is still primary except at the ends.

Leeds - Kendal

No longer the main primary route north from Leeds (the A660 now does the honours), the A65 starts at the western end of the A58(M) inner ring road at the Wellington Street roundabout. It heads west, 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).

The River Wharfe and the A65

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 (and our number having priority), opened in about 1980 and is a godsend.

Kirkby Lonsdale

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 on a 1930s bypass - but could do with bypassing again and also 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 so 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, originally called Farleton Link - 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 its A-road classification.

The A65 ends on the one-way system in Kendal. Some maps claim that the northbound section is numbered A6 whilst the A65 runs southbound from the roundabout near the station - but following the loop is bad enough without having to worry about numbering.

A65 historic route from 1922/3 numbering


Grid References

Kendal • Kirkby Lonsdale • Leeds • Nelson • Settle • Skipton
Related Pictures
View gallery (41)
The River Wharfe and the A65 - Geograph - 60827.jpgA65 - Coppermine - 7269.jpgA65 - Coppermine - 7228.jpgAbbey Road, Kirkstall - Geograph - 1766197.jpgStramongate Bridge Kendal, taken from Victoria Bridge - Geograph - 3703541.jpg
Other nearby roads
A58 • A58(M) • A61 • A62 • A62(M) • A63 • A64 • A64(M) • A65(M) • A613 (Leeds) • A639 • 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)
Kirkby Lonsdale
A683 • B6254 • B6446 • T65 (Britain)
A6 • A590 • A591 • A684 • A685 • A5284 • B5284 • B6254 • B6434 (Kendal) • E33 (London - Glasgow) • Kendal Link • T12 (Britain) • T65 (Britain)
The First 99           A1  •  A2  •  A3  •  A4  •  A5  •  A6  •  A7  •  A8  •  A9  • A10 • A11 • A12 • A13 • A14 • A15 • A16 • A17 • A18 • A19
A20 • A21 • A22 • A23 • A24 • A25 • A26 • A27 • A28 • A29 • A30 • A31 • A32 • A33 • A34 • A35 • A36 • A37 • A38 • A39
A40 • A41 • A42 • A43 • A44 • A45 • A46 • A47 • A48 • A49 • A50 • A51 • A52 • A53 • A54 • A55 • A56 • A57 • A58 • A59
A60 • A61 • A62 • A63 • A64 • A65 • A66 • A67 • A68 • A69 • A70 • A71 • A72 • A73 • A74 • A75 • A76 • A77 • A78 • A79
A80 • A81 • A82 • A83 • A84 • A85 • A86 • A87 • A88 • A89 • A90 • A91 • A92 • A93 • A94 • A95 • A96 • A97 • A98 • A99
Motorway sectionsA1(M): (South Mimms - Baldock • Alconbury - Peterborough • Doncaster Bypass • Darrington - Birtley)
A3(M) • A8(M) Baillieston spur • A38(M) • A48(M) Cardiff spur • A57(M) • A58(M) • A64(M) • A66(M) • A74(M) • A92(M)
DefunctA1(M) Newcastle CME • A2(M) Medway Towns Bypass • A4(M) • A5(M) • A8(M) Renfrew bypass • A14 • A14(M) • A18(M) • A20(M) • A36(M)
A40(M): (Westway • Denham -Stokenchurch) • A41(M) • A42 • A46(M) • A48(M): (Port Talbot bypass • Morriston bypass) • A62(M) • A88 • A99
UnbuiltA2(M) Rochester Way Relief Road • A6(M): (Western route • Eastern route) • A14(M) (Expressway) • A34(M) • A48(M) Llantrisant Radial • A59(M) • A61(M)

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