Bike route. Ride that wipes away cobwebs

The magnificent view above Penistone in the winter sun.
The magnificent view above Penistone in the winter sun.
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BARNSLEY bears the grizzliest side of its face on this punchy rollercoaster of a ride that packs plenty of ups and downs into a hugely enjoyable two-hour trip.

1. From the lay-by on Churchfields in Thurgoland, turn right onto the A629 Halifax Road and go right at traffic lights by the Green Dragon onto Cote Lane for a gentle coast to the valley bottom. Cross the River Don and warm up your legs with the climb up Finkle Street Lane past the rugby club to rejoin the A629.

2. Turn left through Wortley and on leaving the hamlet turn right off the main road just before the national speed limit signs onto Hermit Hill Lane for an exhilarating descent past the golf club.

3. The lost altitude is not easily won back, however, as a kink in the road at the bottom snatches away all momentum, necessitating a real dig to tackle the 20 per cent gradient that awaits on Hermit Hill. In Pilley, the route turns left at the chapel, passing Tankersley Welfare Hall to drop down and then rise over the M1. At the T-junction, turn left on Rockley Lane and pass beneath the motorway just before reaching the deceptively steep Stampers Hill.

4. On cresting the hill, continue along Round Green Lane, passing the Sun Monument in the grounds of Wentworth Castle on your left. The climb up Lowe Lane begins in Stainborough and is a gift that keeps on giving with the road repeatedly ramping up to 16 per cent for almost a mile to Hood Green.

5. In Hood Green, take the first right turn onto Bagger Wood Hill to arrive in Silkstone Common. Go straight on at the crossroads, passing beneath the railway on Cone Lane to descend into Silkstone. Turn right onto the A628 and go immediately left on High Street until the road bears sharply right by the church. Here, turn left onto Silkstone Lane for three-quarters of a mile and left on (unsignposted) Norcroft Lane.

6. On reaching the A635 at Cawthorne, turn left and go immediately left onto South Lane for the long haul up into Hoylandswaine. At the T-junction by the Rose and Crown, turn right to climb to the main road and go right again to the roundabout, where the route goes straight across, down the hill into Penistone. At the traffic lights, bear left and go left at the mini-roundabout to pass through the town centre on High Street.

7. Shortly after leaving the town behind, turn left onto Oxspring Road. Bear right at the end onto Long Lane and on reaching a T-junction go left into Oxspring. Turn right, go immediately left past the children’s park and at the bottom of the hill bear left up Bower Hill. Cross the A629 by the Travellers Inn onto Coates Lane and in 400 metres turn right to join Bird Lane. At the next crossroads turn right on Pinfold Lane and on reaching a T-junction go right into Thurgoland. At the traffic lights, turn right and then left into Churchfields to arrive back at the start.

Difficulty rating: Five stars

Time: 1 hour 55 minutes (at 12mph average speed)

Distance: 23 miles

Climbing: 2,800 feet

Parking: Churchfields, Thurgoland S35 7BH

Public Toilets: Shrewsbury Road, Penistone (opposite the church)

Café:  Cawthorne Village Stores, Darton Rd, Cawthorne S75 4HR (13 miles)