Monsal Head (SW #30) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

0.3 mi
193 ft
13.1 %



Monsal Head is #30 on the 100 Greatest Climbs in Britain list. It is very short at 930 meters but also terribly steep throughout at an average grade of 13.8%! 

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Cycling Monsal Head #30 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain - old rail bridge aerial photo from drone 

The old railway bridge crossing Monsal Dale and the River Wye            

#30 100 Greatest Climb in Britain is short at 930 meters but continuously very steep with an average grade of  14%.

But, not to worry if you spend the entire climb agonizingly staring at the tarmac directly in front of you because the thick trees bordering the entire climb prevent any scenic views during the brief climb to the top.

Bike climb Monsal Head #30 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain - steep road sign, road bordered by trees and brush 

Brush/trees border the road throughout the climb.

The climb begins just above Monsal Dale and ends at Monsal Head.  Monsal head is a popular village with a hotel, pub, cafe, crafts store and a popular ice cream trailer:

Climbing by bike Monsal Head #30 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain - ice cream truck at top of climb 

Ice cream truck in parking lot at climb’s finish

Located in the middle of Peak District National Park - the UK’s first national park:

“The Peak District is an upland area in England at the southern end of the Pennines. It is mostly in northern Derbyshire, but also includes parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. An area of great diversity, it is split into the northern Dark Peak, where most of the moorland is found and the geology is gritstone, the southern White Peak, where most of the population lives and the geology is mainly limestone, and the South West Peak, with landscapes similar to both the Dark and White Peaks.

The Peak District National Park became the first national park in the United Kingdom in 1951. With its proximity to the cities of Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Sheffield, and easy access by road and rail, it attracts millions of visitors every year.”
Wikipedia - Peak District

“Monsal Head is a long running and popular hill climb event.  It was first run in 1930, where it was won by C Newell Sheffield Phoenix CC in 1m 51s (history of Monsal Head).

These days it regularly attracts a big crowd and is one of the biggest hill climb events outside the national hill climb championship. At just half a kilometre it is a hill climb for the lightweight sprinters. The long-standing course record was set by Malcolm Elliot back in 1981 – riding a fixed gear. Reports suggest a strong tailwind on the day, but it is still a phenomenal time. The open hill climb is often won by a time of 1.22-23.

The hill climb course starts with a very gentle gradient, but as the hill bends around to the right, the gradient picks up to 20%. For those who have attacked the climb at full pelt from the bottom, this last steep section is a real difficult test.

The climb finishes outside the Monsal Head Hotel. On race day, there is usually a large crowd to cheer you on. On other days, you can enjoy the view from the top of the climb, which includes the old Headstone viaduct over the River Wye, which now forms part of the Monsal trail.

The climb goes from south east of Cressbrook towards the B6465 and Ashford in the Water.”  

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