Cycling Dunkery Beacon, England
Ride two miles 1,074’ at 10.4% average grade.
This is a very scenic and quite challenging climb, ranked as the sixth hardest in England by Simon Warren.
In the far south-western farm lands of England lies the Dunkery Beacon climb. The climb starts among a narrow network of farming and residential roads. I recommend driving up the climb and using one of the dirt lots or pull outs for parking as there are very few options at the base of the climb. The narrow steep road will likely be shared by hikers as there is an extensive network of trails that line the hillside. At the summit coordinates, there is a dirt path that ends at the Dunkery Beacon lookout point. It is about a mile in length and quite rocky - but rideable on a standard road bike.
Tree border and cover the first 1.4 kilometers of the climb.
The first third of this climb we are surrounded by tree cover. For the last two-thirds of the ride we have wide open views, including some scenic looks back to the north of Bristol Channel.
A gorgeous ride any time, but particularly when the heather is in bloom.
Simon Warren writes of this climb:
“This corner of Exmoor is hill-climbing heaven, with a plethora of nasty steep roads to grind up and fly down. It's hard to single out one climb that sets itself apart from all others, but the road heading away from Luccombe up to the Beacon is a beast,” (100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills, p. 23).
Finish with great views back to Bristol Channel.
It’s a rough ride but worth it.
From the finish, ride the rocky road 0.6 miles at 13% average grade to Dunkery Beacon.
“. . . Dunkery Hill was part of the "Royal Forest of Exmoor,” established by Henry II according to the late 13th-century Hundred Rolls. There has been some debate about the origin of the name "Dunkery" and its predecessors "Duncrey" and "Dunnecray.” Eilert Ekwall suggests that it comes from the Welsh din meaning ‘hillfort’ and creic or creag meaning ‘rock’” (Dunkery Hill).
That’s a wrap!