Stalybridge is the first stop on an informal rail ale trail on the slow route across the Pennines between Manchester and Leeds. These railway pubs form a heroic defence against homogeny. Nine towns on the route have dedicated ale pubs either in or near the station. No designated drivers are required for this pub crawl.
Of the pubs inside the stations, the West Riding Refreshment Rooms in Dewsbury is the most pleasant surprise. Dewsbury isn’t the sort of town that usually attracts tourists, but the pub looks to be straight from a well-to-do Home Counties village. The outer walls are covered in ivy; the smart wooden interior has upmarket gastropub polish.