Rosedale Chimney (SW #55) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Rosedale Chimney (SW #55)

United Kingdom

All the cycling data and info you'll need to climb Rosedale Chimney (SW #55)

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Climb Summary


In the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs we don’t

 recalll being directed to dismount elsewhere.

Climb begins at the bridge at the south eastern edge of Rosedale Abbey


Simon Warren writes of this one:

“Few climbs have such a fearsome reputation as Rosedale Chimney, and rightly so as I snapped my chain not once but twice in my attempt to conquer this vicious stretch of tarmac.  Leaving Rosedale Abbey, a sign warns you of the 1-in-3 - yes, 1-in-3 - gradient to come.”  100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills, p. 95.

As Simon Says . . . this sign greets you at the start.

Good news and bad news - yes, it is a monster (11.5% average and a 200 meter 19% stretch), but . . . good news(?) . . . it is only for 1.4 kilometers . . . - little solace probably . . .

We really enjoyed the climb which begins just outside Rosedale Abbey on Gill Lane (becomes Rosedale Chimney Bank at 300 meters).  We have nice views to the north and back down the hill as we climb and are reminded at the top of just how severe this climb is by the sign which tells cyclists to dismount to descend.

Views along the climb.

Rosedale Chimney hosted the British National Hill Climb Championships in 1987 (Tom Ward wins and Chris Boardman comes in second - Boardman will go on to win the next 4 consecutive championships).    

Steepest ½ kilometer begins at 500m (16.2%) writes of this climb:  

“Rosedale Chimney / Chimney Bank is a short and very steep climb from the village of Rosedale Abbey in the North York Moors. The climb is just under one mile long – At its steepest it is 30% – and the average gradient for the climb is 13-14% It is also worth picking your line carefully on the corners as the gradient is much steeper on the inside.”  More 

The climb begins at the southern edge of Rosedale Abbey (Wikipedia):

Rosedale Abbey is a village in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, England. It is situated approximately 8 miles (13 km) north-west from Pickering, 8 miles south-east from Castleton, and within Rosedale, part of the North York Moors National Park.

A Cistercian Priory (Rosedale Priory) once stood on the site. All that is left today is a staircase turret, a sundial and a single stone pillar. Some headstones that seem to belong to nuns have been reported, though it is unclear whether they remained in situ. Founded in 1158 or earlier, the priory was inhabited by a small group of nuns who are credited with being the first people to farm sheep commercially in the region - a quintessentially Cistercian practice driven by the order's desire to live "far from the concourse of men".

Little is known of the Priory. Unlike their male counterparts in nearby Fountains or Rievaulx Abbeys, the nuns were probably not fluent writers. Furthermore, the Cistercians were famed for their hostility to women, leaving nuns aiming to follow the Cistercian life in an awkward, unofficial position, only partially connected to the rest of the Order. This is compounded by the fact that a house for nuns could not be founded, as male Cistercian abbeys were, by a party of religious being sent out from a pre-existing abbey, able to trace its filiation all the way to the mother-house at Citeaux. Because of this, it is extremely difficult to guess at what the Priory would have looked like (whereas Cistercian abbeys are highly formulaic). What stone remains is well finished and laid, but it is unclear where in the church it would have been, and what ancillary buildings might have surrounded that church. Indeed, this whole chapter of the valley's history is little understood, with only a handful of references remaining. There are records suggesting the nuns at one point had to be moved following a raid by Scots. Another record reprimands the nuns for financial mismanagement and urges them not to give away so much in aid to the poor that they bankrupt themselves. Another reprimand tells them not to allow visitors into their dormitory, while another warns them against allowing puppies into the church, lest they disturb the service. It seems from these records that there was probably a steady population of between half a dozen and a dozen nuns.

The priory ceased to operate in 1536 due to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The buildings were left to decay, with what remained eventually being dismantled in the 19th century. The stone was reclaimed all around the village - including a new church close to the priory church.[4] but there are also suspiciously well-carved lintels built in to garden walls, and sheds with well-cut ashlar stone. Many of the buildings that exist in the village now have distinctly Gothic windows, and two of the churches at least have circular windows (a common feature of Cistercian churches, which were all dedicated to the Virgin Mary, of whom circular windows were a sign). It is unlikely that many (if any) of these stylistic details are remnants of the priory. They speak more of the Victorian sensibilities prevalent at the time the village's population soared, but may well have mimicked traditions set out by the priory.

It is worth noting, too, that there is evidence that the local water-courses have been carefully managed - another common feature of Cistercian landscapes, and that there is a Grange in Rosedale (Grange being the term for a monastic farm). While it is easy to dismiss the priory as a small concern, based on the small number of nuns and lack of surviving ruins, we must remember that Fountains Abbey is unlikely to have held more than a few dozen choir monks for much of its life, so really all we can say is that Rosedale proory could have been very small, or could have been wuite big, or could have been somewhere in-between.

In the 19th century an iron ore mining industry was established. The population of the valley expanded rapidly until the demise of the mines in the 1920s. The standard-gauge Rosedale Branch railway line ran round the head of the valley, serving mine workings on either side, and across the moors to reach what is now the Esk Valley Line at Battersby Junction.”  
Wikipedia - Rosedale Abbey

Things to do around Rosedale Abbey and - Rosedale Abbey.

This climb is in North York Moors National Park, established 1952 with 143,000 hectare (353,361 acres):

“The North York Moors is a national park in North Yorkshire, England, containing one of the largest expanses of heather moorland in the United Kingdom. It covers an area of 554 sq mi (1,430 km2), and has a population of 23,380. The North York Moors became a National Park in 1952, through the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.

To the east the area is clearly defined by the impressive cliffs of the North Sea coast. The northern and western boundaries are defined by the steep scarp slopes of the Cleveland Hills edging the Tees lowlands and the Hambleton Hills above the Vale of Mowbray. To the south lies the broken line of the Tabular Hills and the Vale of Pickering.

Four roads cross the moors from north to south. In the east the A171 joins Whitby and Scarborough. Further inland, the A169 runs between Pickering and Whitby. More centrally, a minor road departs from the A170 at Keldholme and passes through Castleton before joining the A171 which connects Whitby and Guisborough. The most westerly route is the B1257 connecting Helmsley to Stokesley. The A170 from Thirsk to Scarborough marks the southern boundary of the moors area.

The Esk Valley Line is an east-west branch line rail link from Whitby to Middlesbrough in the north and the North Yorkshire Moors steam railway runs from Pickering to Grosmont with a link to Whitby.”  
Wikipedia - North York Moors National Park