|Distance:||10.5 miles (16.9 km)|
|Meets:||A56, A680, A682, A6066, A671, A6033|
|Old route now:||A6033|
|Route outline (key)|
The A681 runs the length of the Rossendale Valley.
Haslingden – Todmorden
The road starts at a junction with the A680 and A56 at Haslingden. Indeed the road starts as the southbound offslip from the A56, only becoming two-way at the A680 roundabout (the other three slip roads are just to the south). The road heads east to Rawtenstall, where it crosses the A682 at a large gyratory, before running along Bocholt Way, the town centre relief road.
Old and new routes merge at a roundabout and the road continues upstream along the built-up valley bottom. Presently the A6066 turns off to the right and the road bears left into Bacup where it crosses the A671 at a junction that looks like a roundabout but isn't. The road now climbs for the bleak moorland run over the border into Yorkshire where it descends again to meet the A6033 south of Todmorden.
Actually that's a matter of debate, as this road was entirely in Lancashire until Victorian times when some civil servant decided that the town of Todmorden, which had always happily straddled the border (one half of the Town Hall was in Yorkshire, the other half in Lancashire!), should be either one or the other and decided, somewhat controversially, to stick it in Yorkshire where it's been ever since. I think most locals regard themselves as Lancastrians, as is the postal address. Anyway, I digress…
Something that's not debatable is the eastern end of the A681. Prior to 1935 the road continued from its current terminus into the centre of Todmorden, ending on the A646 by the town hall. For some reason the A6033 number was deemed important enough to become a transpennine route - that road originally never entered Lancashire.
Original Author(s): Bob Sykes