Lee Quarry is situated in the Rossendale District of the Irwell Valley in Lancashire. This area is characterised by open moor land which has a beauty of its own with a peaty rolling landscape. It is both spectacular and bleak and challenging terrain for any mountain biker. Lee Quarry is situated close to Stacksteads about 3 miles from Rawtenstall. Lancashire Council have funded the development of this otherwise disused quarry by producing some trails designed by the trail builder and MTB centre pioneer, Daffyd Davis. There are two routes at the moment, Red (5k) and Black (2k), which will challenge even the seasoned MTBer. If trials is your thing, then there is purpose built stuff here to bounce around on. There is plenty to explore around the quarry and links in with other routes in the area. Well worth a visit and take your pads if you are not used to the technical stuff!
Quarrying developed in the area as a response to the demand for stone during the Industrial Revolution of mid 19th Century. The stone was used, around the country, for buildings, kerbstones, road-setts, flagstones and engine beds. During its peak, 1870-1890, the quarries in Rossendale employed 3000 men in the area. In fact the quarries have yielded their stone and resulted in the urban landscape we see today – classic stone dwellings and mills. Lee Quarry is but one of the many quarries in the area which have shaped the area. The demand for stone began to decrease in the mid 1900s and Lee Quarry fell into disuse. It is now a Sight of Special Scientific Interest because of it geological formations.
The trail is situated in a fairly built up area around Rawtenstall and is easily accessible. The trail network is limited to one Red Route with a Black loop off this.
The Red Route (white arrow on red background)
This is well signposted and is of about 5k in length. The half of this is a climb with some swoopy sections followed by some singletrack along the outer quarry edge. This flows over some slaby sections to the final downhill part. This is made up of berms and jumps and is fast.
The Black Route (white arrow on black background!)
About half way round the Red Route a rock section forks off to the right. This is the Black route which can be easily missed on the first visit. This is technical and slow in some sections. Lots of large slabs of quarry rock are place together to form this section. The first part takes you to the quarry bottom along an edge. This is challenging the first time round but all is rideable. There are then sections along the bottom and then a final part takes you back up to join the Red Route again for the great finish.
If trials is your thing then there is an area to practise and hone your skills in the quarry bottom.
At the M60/62 roundabout leave by Junction 18 on the M66 towards Rawtenstall. After about 10 miles the motorway becomes the A56. Follow the Burnley and Rawtenstall signs. At the Rawtenstall roundabout take the A681 to Bacup. Follow the road through Waterfoot and Stacksteads. Go through Stacksteads for about 0.5 miles and The Kingfisher Centre Future Parks is on your right with the Post Office opposite. Turn right here. Parking can be along the roadside or in the centre during the weekend.