Cycling Exmoor Forest, England.
Come for the biking, stay for the hiking.
The Exmoor forest climb is one of the longest in the UK at 11.1 km (6.9 miles). This climb begins in the southwestern English town of Lynmouth and the northwestern edge of Exmoor National Park (69,300 hectares / 171,244 acres; established 1954). Exmoor has 34 miles (55 km) of dramatic coastline, including the highest sea cliffs in England. The South West Coast Path passes along these cliffs and was voted Britain's favourite trail in 2006 (Exmoor National Park). Exmoor is a hilly area in west Somerset and north Devon in southwest England. It is named after the River Exe, which runs through the center. Exmoor was an area of the former ancient royal hunting forest, and located in the Exmoor National Park along 34 miles of the Bristol Channel coast (Exmoor).
The attraction of this climb (in addition to checking off another GCC 100) is the coastal village of Lynmouth and the scenery along the way. This is not the most challenging of the GCC 100 climbs. With an average of 3.8% for 11 kilometers, it is the distance, not the gradient, that wears us down on this one. The steepest segment is one kilometer from 3.8 to 4.8 kilometers that averages 9%. The final 4.5 kilometers are nearly flat at an average of 1.2% gradient.
First few hundred meters is through the eastern edge of Porlock.
First half of the climb is bordered by forest.
Second hairpin, km 5.
Wide open spaces at the top.
PJAMM arrives at the top of the climb.
Steepest ½ kilometer begins at km 4.2 (9.9%)
Cycling Uphill says of this climb:
“From just outside the small Devon town of Lynton, Exmoor is a real beast of a climb snaking 7 miles south – up towards the top of the Exmoor hills. The climb offers fantastic views north towards the Bristol Channel. There is a steeper section in the middle, but nothing excessive; this is mainly a long steady climb. The first two miles are a steady 4-5%, then comes the steeper section of around 10%. The last couple of miles are very gradual – only 1 or 2%. If you have a nice northerly tailwind you can fly up this climb. But, if its a southerly headwind, it will make it a long seven miles.
Exmoor Forest is not too far from Porlock and Dunkery Beacon so it is quite possible to get some really big hill climbs all in one go around this part of Devon.”
The blog 100 Hills for George says of the Exmoor Forest cycling climb:
“. . . I was a bit ‘meh’ about the climb initially - it was fairly gentle, kept the bike in the big ring and tried to power through the ride. It was pretty enough, but nothing to really rock the boat, sheltered and in the shade, it was nice enough. But then you came out to a harder middle section that made you work a bit more and then finally you came out onto the moor properly and it was lovely. The gradient went down a little bit - as a reward for the effort you had put in and ‘meh’ was replaced with ‘yeah!’”