|From:||Ashton under Lyne (SJ941990)|
|To:||Bleak Hey Nook (SE005093)|
|Distance:||8.7 miles (14 km)|
|Meets:||A627, A6043, A6050, A669, A6052, A62|
|Old route now:||B6194|
|Route outline (key)|
The A670 is a fairly short affair on the western side of the Pennines. Before the boundary changes in 1974, the road ran through three counties; Lancashire (Ashton-Under-Lyne), Cheshire (Mossley), and The West Riding Of Yorkshire (Saddleworth). Beyond 1974, all areas and the whole road now lie in Greater Manchester.
Starting at the BT Roundabout on the Ashton-under-Lyne ring road, where it meets the A627 (and two B-roads). It heads north, forming a short section of the ring road, to traffic lights, where it TOTSOs right (ahead being the A6043) into Penny Meadow. The B6194 (a former line of the A670 before it was rerouted onto the ring road) soon comes in from the right. The road then passes Tameside General Hospital before entering open country. Just how rural this is is debatable, as the road passes between a golf course and a covered reservoir (although the views are good) before entering Mossley Brow, where there is a short one-way system.
At this point the road is parallel to - but considerably higher than - the A635 down in the bottom of the valley to the right. At traffic lights at the far end of the one-way system the B6177 turns off to descend to meet it but the A670 continues to contour. The A6050 turns off to the left into Lydgate, where the A670 has a hill on one side and nasty drop on the other. The road then descends and the terrain becomes slightly more bearable for vertigo sufferers before a couple of bends take the road into Grasscroft, where the A669 comes in from the left at a sharp angle.
There is a short multiplex ahead, with the A670 number dominant as it always has been, with the last couple of hundred yards adjacent to the railway line. The road then bends right to cross this and the A669 turns off at an even sharper angle. The road continues to contour adjacent to the railway line whilst descending into the valley bottom for the first time.
Uppermill is quite an attractive village, popular with tourists, and increasingly in the 2010s has seen new bars, restaurants and eateries open. Coupled with the more traditional offerings of the museum and canal, the A670 here on the High Street can get very busy especially on Summer weekends. On occasion it's taken me a good 10 minutes or more just to drive through this otherwise smallish Yorkshire settlement. The road crosses the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and cannons off the River Tame to cross it a short distance further on. On the far side of the village, the road goes under the railway viaduct (this is the same line we went over earlier) to bear right at a mini-roundabout (left is the A6052 which continues along the Tame Valley to Denshaw).
The road starts to climb again above Diggle and soon recrosses the canal and reaches open country. As if the hills so far weren't steep enough, we know enter the real moors of the South Pennines, where the road runs up the moors in a fairly steep gradient, with severe gradients on both sides. There are no more settlements left in this short section above Diggle and therefore there is a national speed limit. Constantly climbing, the road eventually reaches a T-junction on the A62 opposite the ruin of the former Horse & Jockey pub. This T-Junction isn't the most easiest of ones to pull out of.
The road is entirely made of a 30mph speed limit except for; a 40mph 0.8 mile section between Ashton-Under-Lyne (Gorsey Lane/Mossley Road) and Top Mossley (Broadcarr Lane/Mossley Road), a 40mph 0.8 mile section between Grasscroft (Oldham Road/Mossley Road) and Uppermill (Oldham Road/Chapel Road), a 40mph 0.5 mile section between Dobcross (Sugar Lane/Wool Road) and Diggle (Standedge Road/Spurn Lane), and a national speed limit 1.1 mile section from Diggle (Standedge Road/Spurn Lane) and the A62 at Standedge (Standedge Road/Huddersfield Road).
An example of it's relatively high elevation; there are many 'snow warning signs' along the route; more so in Saddleworth where they will warn you that the section of the road beyond Dobcross and onto the A62 (over the Pennines to Marsden) will be closed if there has been snowfall. These are traditional looking 50 year old signs, although they are hard to miss.