The UK's Hardest Cycling Climbs By Region

Hardknott pass cycling
Do you know the hardest climb in your region? (Credit: Gavin Towers)

We’ve counted down the top 5 hardest cycling climbs in the UK but what about the hardest climbs in each region of the country? So here we go, we’ve ranked the UK’s hardest cycling climbs by region according to their length and average and maximum gradients. Have you tackled the toughest climb in your region?


Bealach Na Ba

Bealach Na Ba
Bealach na Bà is arguably the toughest climb in Britain

On the west coast of Scotland, Bealach na Bà has the most elevation gain of any road climb in the UK, rising from sea level to 626m over a stretch of 9.2km. Not only is the average gradient 7% but sections of the climb almost reach 20%.

Region: Scotland

Length: 9.2km

Average gradient: 7%

Elevation: 626m


Northern Ireland

Benbradagh Climb

Benbradagh Climb
Benbradagh is found in Dungiven County Londonderry, Northern Ireland (Credit: Richard Webb)

Located in Northern Ireland, the Benbradagh Climb is 2km in length with an elevation gain of 254m. The climbs average gradient is 13% with the gradient surpassing 15% at the steepest part.

Region: Northern Ireland

Length: 2km

Average gradient: 13%

Elevation: 254m


North East

Chapel Fell

Chapel Fell
One of the most challenging climbs in the North East (Credit: James Denham)

A tough climb in the North East, Chapel Fell will take you through average gradients of 8.3% along 4km with a total elevation gain of 327m.

Region: North East

Length: 4km

Average gradient: 8.3%

Elevation: 327m


North West

Hardknott Pass

Hard Knott Pass
Hardknott Pass is an infamous British climb (Credit: Gavin Towers)

Situated between Eskdale and the Duddon Valley in the Lake District, Hardknott Pass is the steepest road in England with gradients up to 33%.

Region: North West

Length: 2.2km

Average gradient: 13.3%

Elevation: 298m


Yorkshire and the Humber

Rosedale Chimney

Rosedale Chimney
With its gradient peaking at 30% Rosedale Chimney is one of the hardest climbs on the list (Credit: David Smith)

Found in the village of Rosedale Abbey in the North York Moors, Rosedale Chimney has an elevation of 183m, 1.34km in length and its gradient peaks at 30%.

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber

Length: 1.34km

Average gradient: 14%

Elevation: 183m


East Midlands

Winnats Pass

Winnats Pass
A beautiful climb in the Peak District

It’s no surprise to see Winnats Pass on this list, a tough climb in the Peak District that takes you through a limestone cleft. With an average gradient of 11.4% over 1.8km and sections reaching 20% it's a popular choice for cyclists looking for a challenge.

Region: East Midlands

Length: 1.8km

Average gradient: 11.4%

Elevation: 209m



Bwlch Y Groes

Bwlch Y Groes
The second highest public road mountain pass in Wales

Found on the edge of northern Snowdonia, Bwlch Y Groes is 2.63km long, with a maximum gradient of 20% and average gradient of 12%.

Region: Wales

Length: 2.63km

Average gradient: 14%

Elevation: 356m


East Anglia

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill is also known as Roman Camp (Credit: N Chadwick)

Beacon Hill, one of the longer climbs in Norfolk but less steep than those on this list, with an average gradient of 5% and elevation gain of 65m.

Region: East Anglia

Length: 1.3km

Average gradient: 5%

Elevation: 65m


West Midlands

Asterton Bank

Asterton Bank
A punchy climb in the west Midlands (Credit: Bill Boaden)

A short but sharp climb in the west midlands, Asterton Bank is punchy with an average gradient of 17% and a maximum gradient of 22% across 1km.

Region: West Midlands

Length: 1km

Average gradient: 17.1%

Elevation: 172m



Swains Lane

Swains Lane
A popular climb in London (Credit: Marathon)

Arguably the toughest climb in London, Swain’s Lane maximum gradient is 20% and averages 8% over 921 metres. Found in central London the climb is located in the hills of Highgate Village.

Region: London

Length: 921m

Average gradient: 7.3%

Elevation: 68m


South West

Dunkery Beacon

Dunkery Beacon
One of the hardest climbs in the South West (Credit: Mark Percy)

Dunkery Beacon is one of the toughest climbs in the south west of England with 321m of climbing over 3.1km. It starts from the village of Porlock and climbs an average of 10% gradient towards the top of Exmoor.

Region: South West

Length: 3.1km

Average gradient: 10%

Elevation: 321m


South East

White Down

White Down
White Down is a popular climb in west Dorking (Credit: Adam Morse)

Close to Box Hill, White Down is located in the South East of England in Surrey. The 1.97km climb sees an elevation of 116m and an average gradient of 6%.

Region: South East

Length: 1.97km

Average gradient: 6%

Elevation: 116m


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