Dunkery Beacon (SW #5) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

2 mi
1,074 ft
10.4 %



Dunkery Beacon is Climb #5 of Simon Warren's 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs (Great Britain). Looking back as we climb is Bristol Channel. The climb is very challenging with an average grade over 3 kilometers of 10%.  

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Cycling Dunkery Beacon, UK - road sign for Dunkery Beacon and Whedon Cross, large trees and ferns near sign, Simon Warren's 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs #5 logo in corner   

Cycling Dunkery Beacon, Porlock, Somerset, UK.

Cycling Dunkery Beacon, UK - photo collage, road signs for Luccombe Minehead, Allerford, Bossington, Horner, and Porlock near very tall greenery almost overtaking sign, road bike parked along hillside, stretches of road winding down hillside, pastureland, water in background


The first 1.4 kilometers of this 3.1 kilometer climb are surrounded and covered by trees. From 1.4km to the finish we have wide open views, including some scenic looks back to the north of Bristol Channel.  

Cycling Dunkery Beacon, UK - photo collage, dense tree border and coverage along roadside, very tall and lush green trees

Tree border and cover the first 1.4 km of the climb.

Bike climbDunkery Beacon - aerial drone photo - road, ocean 

Bristol Channel looking north and back down the hill from km 2.75.

The first 200 meters are very steep at 17.5%, tapering to 11.5% for the next 650 meters, until finally easing to 1.5% for a restful 400 meters of calm before the next storm: 1.4 km at 12.7%.  We coast home over the last half kilometer at 5% average grade.  In all, #5 GCC is one tough climb!

Using Simon Warren’s UK bike climbing bible, 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, The Guardian 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. Leave the crossroads and head into thick forest.
Ramping up straight away at 17% and winding across a steep cattle grid, you ride upwards under the trees. The opening stretch over, your legs will already be burning by the time the gradient affords you a brief rest before the road climbs once more. If you thought the first part was hard, think again. A perfect stretch of unrelenting 17% gradient cuts its way through the gorse, turning left, steeper, right, steeper still and delivering you to the finale. Ahead, the road winds like a streamer dropped from a tall building, kinking left and right, left, right, steep all the way. You'll finish, consumed by fatigue, adjacent to a small stone car park. Where Leave Porlock heading east on the A39. Turn off south to West Luccombe, ride through the village and then through the village of Horner and take the next right at the crossroads to head up”  (
read more).

Dunkery Beacon climbs 1705 feet to the sandstone summit of Dunkery Hill at the highest point on Exmoor and in Somerset, England. It is also the highest point in southern England outside of Dartmoor.

The site has been inhabited through the Bronze Age and contains a deserted medieval settlement and has been in private ownership until donated to the National Trust in the 20th century.  

“. . . 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).

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