An irreverent look at unusual places served by everyday bus routes
11: Cemetery Gates, 125: Doffcocker, 583: Dangerous Corner, 666: Hell…
From our disjointed list seen above, could you guess which one of our four bus routes is actually a fictitious one? Well, you may surprised to find that the 11 is a fictitious route. Cemetery Gates was the terminus of Stan Butler’s usual route on LWT’s ever-popular On The Buses. The only 11 bus I knew which ran close to a cemetery is today’s 346 route.
In a previous article, we did find you could catch a bus to Hell in Poland. With 666 as its route number. Dangerous Corner and Doffcocker are both in Greater Manchester, near Leigh and Bolton respectively. Somewhere along this soggy (well, scorching at this time of writing) island alone, are a plethora of unusual places that are served by everyday bus routes. Some of which might raise a titter due to their Carry On… style nature.
Believe it or not, there is a regular bus service to a place called Goats. The place is a mere dot between Shaw and Newhey, served by the 58 from Rochdale to Oldham. It is also served by the 181 and 182. Goats is on the A663 which runs parallel with the River Beal and Metrolink line to Rochdale.
Whereas Swine no longer has a bus service, you can still get a bus from Hull Paragon to Beeford. This is served by the 99 (Hull – Bridlington) and the 136 (Driffield – Bridlington) routes. Great Cowden fares better with the 129 (Withernsea – Hornsea) and the 220 (Hornsea – Bilton).
To trump them all in the animal kingdom, Catford has a comprehensive network thanks to Transport for London’s franchised bus network. Whilst we’re at it, Hendon and Cockfosters could stake similar claims.
Something to sing about
The Herefordshire village of Trumpet is served by four services. On paper this sounds like it has a service level typical of a small town. Only one service, the 476, is once hourly (Hereford – Ledbury). Its other routes (the 479 to Much Marcle, and the 671 and 672 routes to Bromyard) are single journeys.
By contrast, Busk (in Chadderton) has the peak hours only 24 service and frequent journeys on the 181 and 182 routes. Horn, a small town in the Netherlands has regular services to Roermond, Wertt and Venlo.
Other curios and quirks of the English language
The 583 could take you to Dangerous Corner, which is close to Leigh. Other routes include the 132 and 594. The village of Jump is served by three bus routes to Barnsley (67/67a/67c) and a route to Wath-upon-Dearne (662). After a pint in The Winking Man, you could change buses at the newly built Hanley bus station for a bus to Loggerheads. You need Arriva Midlands North’s 164 service.
There is also another Loggerheads in North Wales: it is served by the 1 and X1 services from Ruthin to Mold (the X1 continues across the boundary to Chester). Aboard the 821 from Keighley to Scar House Reservoir, you could catch a bus to Blubberhouses. As for the bus to Wetwang, BusKing’s 135 service to Driffield offers an infrequent Tuesdays only service. According to BusTimes.org, its map resembles a triangle.
Speaking of Triangle, it is on the main road to Halifax from Ripponden. The 560 to 562 services call there, as does Yorkshire Tiger’s picturesque X58 service from Rochdale.
Triangles make for great toast, especially on the outer fringes of a dinner plate with baked beans. On an away trip with Stalybridge Celtic back in 2002, I got lost on the way to Gravesend and Northfleet FC’s ground, in a village called Bean. Its most regular services are the 474 and 475 which are circular routes that call at Bluewater Shopping Centre. Its other service is the D2 which operates on schooldays only.
If you live in Barton-in-the-Beans, there is an hourly service from Market Bosworth to Leicester. This is Arriva Midlands’ 153 service with a journey time of 1 hour and 12 minutes in all. Enough time to do ten lots of beans on toast.
A short walk from the village of Ugley is Patmore End. Its main bus route is Stephensons of Essex’s 301 service to Bishop’s Stortford and Saffron Walden. Its second bus route, the 441 has a return journey on schooldays only.
“Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before…”
In Greater Manchester, there is more than one bus route with the number one. 1 is also used for a Stagecoach Wigan service as well as one of TfGM’s Free Bus shuttles. Across the UK, there are several more Farnworths, Newtons, Dentons and Middletons. Newton-le-Willows is one example. It might be worth looking at some of the lesser known other Newtons and Dentons.
For some passengers, Millbrook is a stop on the 340, 343 and 348 services. In Bedfordshire, their Millbrook only has two services that are operated by Flittabus. One (the FL6B) is a Thursdays only return journey to Flitwick’s TESCO superstore, which also calls at another Greenfield. Its other service is the FL2 which offers a return journey from Haynes West End to Milton Keynes.
If you thought the 348 was bobbins, the FL2 only runs on the second Tuesday of the month. Which is less frequent than the CalMac ferry from Mallaig to Eigg. It also calls at the delightfully named village of Houghton Conquest (where Grant Palmer’s 42 service is a more frequent bus).
If you thought the state of Bolton’s routes were dire, the people of another Bolton (in East Yorkshire) have only one route. The 747 (which does not offer links to Leeds/Bradford Airport runs from Pocklington to York. Go-Ahead Group’s East Yorkshire operation musters three journeys to York with four in the opposite direction.
In Somerset, another Bury (Bury Gilclose) has to make do with a Thursdays Only service from Dulverton to Minehead. This is Exmoor Community Bus Association’s 678 service.
Whereas the 471 should run every 10 minutes between Bolton and Rochdale, the people of Heywood have an intensive service compared with those living in another Heywood. One in Wiltshire which has three to four journeys a day from Trowbridge to Devizes. The 87 service, operated by Faresaver is one of two bus routes in Wiltshire’s Heywood. The other, Frome Bus’ 88, has one early morning journey.
According to the excellent Bustimes.org website, there are 20 variants of Denton. Three of which cover the Denton we know and love in Tameside (including Dane Bank and Haughton Green). Denton in Northamptonshire is served by three return journeys of Stagecoach in Bedfordshire’s 41 service. This runs from Bedford to Northampton.
Upper Denton, a stone’s throw away from Hadrian’s Wall is served by the 685 service. The route has three variations with part route journeys from Carlisle to Brampton. Some continue to Hexham, but the full route follows the wall from Carlisle to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. You might need butties: the full journey is 2 hours and 22 minutes long. You could break your journey at Denton Burn.
“Like a nightclub in the morning, you’re the bitter end…”
If you live in the Shetland Islands or the Orkney Islands, you might be fortunate (or unfortunate enough) to live in a village called Twatt. In the Orkney Islands version of “the nightclub in the morning”, the village’s most bus route is the 7 which only has four journeys. The 8S is its sister route. The 443 and 499 run on schooldays only.
In the Shetland Islands, only two journeys on the 16. The 92 only has one journey which must be booked in advance. This also augmented by the 12 and 12F from Aith to Bixter.
This is probably the part you are dying to read about: the bit which befits the Carry On Up The Fair Stage title.
In Wales, there is Three Cocks, as immortalised in Half Man Half Biscuit’s Lord Hereford’s Knob (on the CSI:Ambleside LP). Whether you think of three feathered birds or three phallic objects, I shall leave this to your imagination. It is served by the T4 (Newtown – Cardiff) and T14 (Hereford – Cardiff) routes that form part of the TrawsCymru network.
Not a million miles away from Hereford is the village of Bell End. Just off the M5 motorway, it is served by the 318 route from Bromsgrove to Stourbridge. If you fancy a walk along the Clent Hills, alight at Holy Cross. For hills of a different kind, the 183 to Marsden’s Hard End is a good starting point for walking around Butterley Reservoir.
If canals whet your appetite, what remains of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury canal is a short walk from Prestolee. If you get Tyrers’ hourly 557 service from Farnworth to Prestolee (no Sunday and Bank Holiday service), you could visit Nob End. In spite of its Carry On… style location, it is a Site of Specialist Scientific Interest. The 544 circular from Bolton (Vision Bus) and the 521 to Blackrod (Tyrers) offer an alternative at the Little Lever end. Again, no Sunday and Bank Holiday service.
Off the Chorley Old Road, Doffcocker is on the outskirts of Bolton. Its most frequent and best known bus is the 125 to Chorley and Preston. There is also the 501 to Farnworth. If you fancy calling in The Winking Man for one, D&G’s 16 service from Hanley to Leek and Buxton is the one you need. Four return journeys continue to Buxton via the pub.
On Wednesdays, you could catch the 42 from Hailsham to Upper Dicker. Cuckmere Buses’ service is really two circular routes. From Berwick to Eastbourne, it is served by the more frequent 44 service which offers three return journeys (Sundays and Bank Holidays excepted).
Lower Dicker fares far better. In addition to Cuckmere Buses’ 42 and 44 services. On the first and third Thursday of the month, the 38 offers a return journey to Brighton. Stagecoach in Eastbourne’s 54 service from Uckfield to Eastbourne offer an hourly link. On schooldays, this is augmented by Seaford and District’s 142 service, a return journey to Lewes. The 143 (operated by Compass Travel) offers a more regular service from Hailsham to Lewes: five return journeys.
Before I go…
Feel free to add to the places we have mentioned in our article. If you have ever called at any of the places (or use the aforementioned services), feel free to comment.
S.V., 22 April 2019.