Midway through this climb is a short but spectacular canyon. On the day we climbed Winnats in August, 2018, there were sheep grazing along the roadway in the shade created by the steep hillside on the northern side of the road.
Winnats Pass has hosted the British National Hill Climb Championships in 1947 (Vic Clark), 1949 (Bob Maitland), 1953 (Roy Keughley), 1957 (Erick Wilson), 1959 (Gordon Rhodes), 1972 (John Granville Sydney) and 1977 (John Parker). Inexplicably, although having been the most popular site for the Championship from 1947 to 1977 (7 times) it has not hosted the event since. Winnats Pass hasn't held the hill climb National Championships since 1977 because a nearby road collapsed in a landslide, making Winnats too important for transport connections to close the road.
2009 (Dan Fleeman wins) and 2014 (Dan Evans tops the podium). The 1100 meter ascent is also home to the annual Stocksbridge CC Hill Climb (formerly Thurcroft CC Hill Climb as referred to in 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain, p. 76).
The climb begins just west of Castleton at the “Peak Cavern Peveril Castle” sign.
Start of climb.
The climb is 1.9 kilometers at a stout 11.1% average grade. The 450 meters just after bending right half way through the midpoint canyon gets your attention at 16.5%.
1.3 km mark - towards end of 16.5% 450 meters.
Steepest ½ Kilometer begins at 800 meters (16.3%)
Simon Warren writes of this climb:
“For sheer drama, nothing matches Winnats Pass, a winding road through a natural cleft, surrounded by towering, grass-covered limestone pinnacles.” Greatest Cycling Climbs
Climb begins just west of Castleton:
“Castleton is a village in the High Peak district of Derbyshire, England, at the western end of the Hope Valley on the Peakshole Water, a tributary of the River Noe, between the Dark Peak to the north and the White Peak to the south. The population was 642 at the 2011 Census.
Castleton village was mentioned as Pechesers in Domesday Book in 1086 where "Arnbiorn and Hundingr held the land of William Peverel's castle in Castleton". This land and Peverel's castle were amongst the manors belonging to William Peverel that also included Bolsover and Glapwell.
St Edmund's Norman church was restored about 1837. It has late 13th-century tracery and an ashlar-faced Perpendicular tower. Its box pews are dated 1661, 1662, 1663 and 1676.
A medieval leper hospital (the Hospital of Saint Mary in the Peak) is thought to have been on the eastern boundary of Castleton, though some locals believe it to have been just south of the Speedwell Cavern footpath from the village. Sheffield University archaeologists are investigating ‘Castle of the Peak’, which was reputedly founded by the wife of one of the William Peverels before 1153, and continued until about the 1543 Dissolution. They say the earliest documents referring to Spital Field are a grant and a Charter from the early 14th century. They are also investigating the 12th-century planned town at the foot of the castle hill.
Castleton later prospered from lead mining; the Odin Mine, one of the oldest lead mines in the country, is situated 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mi) west of the village (see also Derbyshire lead mining history). This created and enlarged local caverns, four of which are now open to the public as Peak Cavern, Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern. A small amount of Blue John is mined locally.
Since the 1920s the main mineral industry in the area has been cement. Hope Cement Works is closer to Hope, but its quarry is closer to Castleton.” Wikipedia - Catleton
The climb is located in 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