|Location Map ( geo)|
|Via:||Rochdale, Burnley, Clitheroe|
|Distance:||34.5 miles (55.5 km)|
|Meets:||A627, A663, A664, A640, A58, A6066, A681, A646, A6114, A682, A679, M65, A646, A678, A6068, A680, A59|
|Former Number(s):||A627, A59|
|Route outline (key)|
The A671 is a fine Lancashire road, connecting several urban areas via scenic moorland.
Section 1: Oldham – Burnley
The road starts in the centre of Oldham on the A627, although the exact spot is debatable as the routes of both roads in the town centre seem a bit confused. What is certain is that the road heads north through Royton before going under the M62 to cross the A664 Rochdale southern bypass via a strange gyratory and enter the town centre.
After going under the railway line the mainline of the A671 TOTSOs right at traffic lights to cross the A640 at the next set of lights (going straight on at the first junction meets the A640 further west) to skirt the eastern side of the town centre and cross the A58 northern bypass, again at traffic lights. It continues through the northern suburbs and along a section of early ribbon development, where often there is nothing behind the buildings lining the road except open country. Presently the road reaches Britannia, where the A6066 bears off to the left and the route becomes more urban. The road bears right to wend its way through Bacup, crossing the A681 at a roundabout in the town centre.
Continuing north, the A671 finally gets on to the moors before there's a fine descent into Burnley with superb views. The A646 bypass is crossed via a short multiplex between adjacent sets of traffic lights. At first the road runs through the eastern suburbs to reach traffic lights near the Turf Moor football ground, where it TOTSOs left to go under the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to reach a roundabout on the A682 ring road. Before the town centre was closed off, the A671 was the main street through Burnley, now it is diverted round the centre, the junior number in a multiplex. The A671 number doesn't merit an appearance on any signs (anyone leaving Burnley apparently only goes to Preston, Blackburn or Manchester).
Section 2: Burnley – Worston
The road reappears at junction 10 of the M65, then leaves Burnley on a nice twisty dual carriageway with stupid 30mph limit. After meeting the end of the A626 the road drops down into the little town of Padiham (where the council have gone traffic-calming mad), then picks up primary status at the A6068 link road from the M65, and carries all traffic bound for Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley and the A59. This bit was due to be bypassed, but this was scrapped at the eleventh hour in the early 1990s.
After passing through Simonstone there's a nice stretch down to Whalley (although one of the bends is called the Devil's Elbow for obvious reasons), where it used to terminate on the A59 in the centre of the village. The A59 bypass round Whalley and Clitheroe opened in about 1970, so a short and fast link was built extending the A671 onto the new road. It then got an extension when the old A59 through Clitheroe was renumbered as A671. This leaves the bizarre signing "Clitheroe A671 (A59)", even on brand new signs, when the A671 has run into Clitheroe of its own accord for more than 30 years. Near Skipton, however, newer signs are more sensibly signed "Preston A59, Clitheroe (A671)", even though it seems to have taken them 30 years to realise this…
Following a short multiplex along the A59 - the only dualled section in the area - the A671 turns left at a roundabout to run into Clitheroe. There's a short relief road in the town centre itself, after which a roundabout is reached by the hospital on the edge of open country. This is where the A671 leaves the ex-A59; it turns right to run along a short new-build section (presumably as part of the Chatburn bypass) to end at a T-junction on the present A59.
Originally the A671 started in Rochdale, with the road south to Oldham being part of the A627; the renumbering took place later than expected. The Oldham-Rochdale road was still the A627 rather than A671 in the 1980s. It seems that the powers that be have now realised that it was nonsense having the A627 and the A627(M) running parallel, and that the original A627 should have been reclassified when the "M" was built – better to be 25 years late than not at all…
The Clitheroe section, where the former A59 is now the A671, is perhaps no less strange.
Original Author(s): Bob Sykes