Tan Hill (SW #51) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

6.2 mi
812 ft
1.9 %



Simon Warren’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs (Britain) #51.  “Leaving Langthwaite and the banks of Arkle Beck, the road up to the Tan Hill Inn is an epic climb by UK standards. The narrow, very well surfaced road, lying like a ribbon draped across a vast expanse of wild grass and gorse, is in many places the only sign of man’s presence in this wilderness," (100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, p. 90).
2% average grade (3.6% climb only).  31% of the climb is descent, 47% is at 0-5% grade, 19% is at 5-10%, and 3% is at 10-15%. The steepest 500 meters is 8.5% and steepest kilometer 5.8%.  

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  This is a narrow 1.5 lane road in good condition with sweeping views of open fields and bordered by stone walls some of the way. 

Traffic:  Minimal.

Parking:  Either at the Tan Hill Inn at the top of the climb and then ride down for the start of the climb, or on the side of the road at climb start (MapStreet View). 
Provisions:  The closest places for food and drink are the CB Inn 2.4 kilometers south of the climb start (Google Map + Reviews), or Tan Hill Inn at the top of the climb which gets many and excellent reviews (Google Map + Reviews).  Also consider staying at the inn and doing the wonderful hikes and gravel/mountain biking - although we have not stayed here, it looks like a great overnight stay. 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
This is #51 on the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain and is one of nineteen climbs in the Yorkshire section of the book. 

Use the “Routes in Area” button on the menu bar to see other bike climbs in the region.  



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Cycling Tan Hill, UK - Simon Warren's 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs #51 logo in corner, road sign along narrow dirt road for W2W Tan Hill

Cycling Tan Hill, Yorkshire Dales, England.

We very much enjoyed this long but gentle climb.  At 10 kilometers, Tan Hill is the fifth longest of the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain.  And Simon Warren stuck his landing on this one:

Cycling Tan Hill, UK - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, road sign for Tan Hill, old white stone building along roadside, bike parked along stone fence on roadside, narrow one-lane road in remote pastureland, road sign for 12% grade

“The narrow, very well surfaced road, lying like a ribbon draped across a vast expanse of wild grass and gorse, is in many places the only sign of man’s presence in the wilderness” (100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills, p. 90).

Cycling Tan Hill, UK - very narrow, very long, gently curved road stretching as far as the eye can see through wide open pastureland

Simon’s ribbon draped across wild grass.

Cycling Tan Hill, UK - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, stretches of narrow, straight road stretching through wide open pastureland, large printed SLOW on roadway, gloved hand giving a thumbs up to one portion of roadway, low stone fence lining road, brownish green tall grasses in pastureland,

Views along the ride.

This climb is reeee-mote!  Just you, the bike, the road, and big open spaces.  The climb itself is a piece of cake with many gradual rollers and averaging only 2% over its lengthy 10 kilometers.  In fact, the steepest stretch is 1.8 kilometers averaging a mere 5.4%, beginning at 5.2 kilometers.  This great climb is more about a comfortable, relaxing, and peaceful ride than it is a workout or calorie burner.  

Cycling Tan Hill, UK - wide open grasslands with very low rainbow on the horizon, white sheep in corner gazing out toward rainbow

We experienced a stunning rainbow toward the top of the climb.

Cycling Tan Hill, UK - gloved hand giving thumbs up to stretch of long narrow roadway through pastureland

This one gets PJAMM Cycling’s stamp of approval!


Steepest ½ kilometer begins at kilometer 9 (8.4%). 

The climb beginsthree kilometers northwest of Langthwaite:

“Langthwaite is one of the few villages in Arkengarthdale, North Yorkshire, England. It is probably classed as the main settlement in the dale. It is one of the most northerly settlements in the whole of Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is home to a pub ('The Red Lion'), a shop and an unusual commissioners' church of 1817, which was one of many then built with money provided by Parliament in an attempt to counteract atheism and free thinking after the French Revolution. Langthwaite is also home to a hexagonal powder house, built in 1807 to store gunpowder used in the many mines dotted around the area.

The 1851 census counted 48 houses in Langthwaite.

The village was used for the filming of several scenes in the television series All Creatures Great and Small. The Red Lion was featured in the episode "Every Dog Has His Day" but was made out to be in fictional Briston, while the frontage of the fictional J. R. Stubbs provisions store and the bridge which Siegfried Farnon and James Herriot drive over, featured in the opening credits of the later series, are also in the village. Another TV series, Century Falls, also featured Langthwaite. The 1975 Disney picture "Escape from the Dark" was partly filmed in Langthwaite and around Arkengarthdale.

The name of the village is Old Norse in origin and means 'the long meadow” (

The Tan Hill climb is in the northern section of Yorkshire Dales National Park (217,800 hectares / 538,195 acres, established in 1954):

“The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a 2,178 km2 (841 sq mi) national park in England covering most of the Yorkshire Dales. The majority of the park is in North Yorkshire, with a sizeable area in Cumbria and a small part in Lancashire. The park was designated in 1954, and was extended in 2016. Over 20,000 residents live and work in the park, which attracts over eight million visitors every year.  The park is 50 miles (80 km) north-east of Manchester; Leeds and Bradford lie to the south, while Kendal is to the west, Darlington to the north-east and Harrogate to the south-east. The national park does not include all of the Yorkshire Dales. Parts of the dales to the south and east of the national park are located in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” (Yorkshire Dales National Park). 

To help plan your trip to this remote area, check out this list of  top things to do around Langthwaite.

Cycling Uphill says of the Tan Hill Climb:

“If you’re looking for short steep climbs you will be disappointed by Tan Hill. It is the definition of a long drag to the summit. The 215m height gain is stretched out over 6 miles of exposed moor land. If you get a tailwind you will fly up the gradual gradient. If it is a block headwind, it will be a very long 6 miles. There is a very short section of 10% near the summit, but that won’t be your main memory of the climb. It is the long never-ending climb up the moor.

I rode Tan Hill after quite a few other Dales climbs, such as Buttertubs and the Stang. There was a strong north westerly headwind which made the going very slow. There is a open hill climb event run on Tan Hill, it is a good hill climb for a time trial bike if you want to get the fastest time. It also features in the Etape du Dales sportive” (read more).