Mary Towneley Loop

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Trails

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Type of Trail(s)
Trail Distance(s)

Location

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Address
The Summit 140 Summit, Littleborough, OL15 9QX
Directions
You can though review the map and start at any point. The rail stations stopping quite close to the Loop are at Littleborough (The summit start point on the map here), Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.

The Mary Towneley Loop is one of those MTB trail epics to tick off the list.

Set on the Pennine bridleway along the border of Lancashire and Yorkshire the trail is a whopping 75km (47 miles) long.  

It's not renowned for being overly technical (although it does have many steep climbs) but its distance makes it quite harsh. 7 - 10 hours to complete in a day would be very respectable and doing it over two or even three days is not uncommon.

If you are thinking of doing it in one day then apart from be very prepared with clothing and nutrition we recommend you choose a long summers days to do it in and start early. 

Mary Townley Loop Trail

  • Given the distance the terrain is unsurprisingly mixed. You get stone causeway, gravel, grass and tarmac. You will find yourself in open moorland, valleys and reservoirs etc. Part of the routes appeal is the mix of open countryside set in the backdrop of a post industrial urban setting. There is a lived in feel to the industrial fells here that appeals to many and gives it something quite unique.
  • The trail is waymarked (follow the National Trail Acorn).
  • Mountain bikers more often ride the Loop anti-clockwise. 
  • Being a Loop there are many start points though and so best to review the map and decide from a transport perspective what works best. 

Closest Bike Shops

  • Rawtenstall/Waterfoot, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Broadley.

Maps and Guides

Events

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Other Stuff

  • Lady Mary Towneley was a horse rider who campaigned for the Pennine Bridleway National Trail.
  • Pic credit to Trevor Smith

Photos

Mary Towneley Loop

Map

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User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
2.7
Grin Factor 
 
3.0  (2)
Trail Variety 
 
3.0  (2)
Skills Development 
 
2.3  (2)
Trail Quality  
 
2.8  (2)
Facilities 
 
2.5  (2)
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Ratings
Grin Factor
Level of fun had, or to be had
Trail Variety
Variety of specific trail or overall trail centre. Mix of obstacles, berms, jumps, drops, shore etc.
Skills Development
Did it develop or push your skills and leave you with more to come back and learn
Trail Quality
Are the trails well built /maintained using sustainable techniques?
Facilities
From cafe post ride grub to bike wash. Did it meet your expectations?
User Review
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Mega loop for the MTL!
Overall rating 
 
2.1
Grin Factor 
 
2.0
Trail Variety 
 
2.0
Skills Development 
 
2.0
Trail Quality  
 
2.0
Facilities 
 
3.0
Its well worth doing if epic slogs are your thing, but its better to use parts of it and then make little loops off it taking in the Pennines. One of the "little loops" can be Lee Quarry, or some of Calderdales finest.

User Review

Good Points
A sense of achievement when its done, good to do a bit of it and loop in some more natural stuff rather than slog round the loop.
Bad Points
A slog in wither direction, you HAVE to be fit to attempt it in day.
Would you recommend?
Yes
S
Top 10 Reviewer 50 reviews
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A tough day out
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Grin Factor 
 
4.0
Trail Variety 
 
4.0
Skills Development 
 
2.5
Trail Quality  
 
3.5
Facilities 
 
2.0
I rode it anticlockwise, but met lots of people riding it clockwise who said that was the better way to go. I did find myself having to push up some of the steepest ups - once you're off the bike it's hard to get going again on these bits. I reckoned I could have ridden these up as descents without too much trouble. Conversely, I don't think I rode down many bits I couldn't have ridden up, so perhaps on balance clockwise is the more rideable route?

User Review

Good Points
The countryside is indisputably gorgeous, and despite living in the area I was amazed by how many out of the way houses there are, which made my solo trip more interesting as I pondered who on earth would live in a house like this (let's go through the keyhole...).
The trails are mixed and interesting, although today it was really dry with hardly any mud, which did make for quite a hard ride on the bum as even the rock free sections were parched hard. This is probably quite unusual for this part of the world though!
It feels like quite an achievement to have done it in a day, or would make a pleasant weekend break for experienced riders. Inexperienced riders will probably get round, as there's not much that is really technical, but they'll end up doing a lot of pushing and probably not enjoy it as much as someone who can ride it.
Bad Points
It is relentless! For much of the way this is not a trail to stop concentrating on, so anyone hoping for a leisurely pedal and chat should look elsewhere.
It doesn't go directly past many (any?) cafes, although there is a 'tuck shop' selling sweets and drinks in Waterfoot just after you cross the B road.
You need to carry a lot of water, which is obviously heavy. I set off with 2.5l, bought another litre, and knocked on a random house and asked for more (it was very hot though).
You will never want to see another gate as long as you live by the time you have finished this ride.
Would you recommend?
Yes
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