The Shelf (SW #86) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

3 mi
859 ft
5.3 %



This one is 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs #86, and is located near the Wales cycling hub of Ruthin.  If you're traveling to do climbs in this area, you can use Ruthin as your home base.  The Shelf cycling climb has some nice open views of rangeland as you climb and is comfortable throughout, with an average 5.4% and maximum grade of only 8.6% for the steepest kilometer.  
5.4% average grade with 51% at 5-10% grade and 4% at 10-15%.  The steepest 500 meters is 8.5%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  One lane road bordered by hedgerows for the first two kilometers, then trees for a short bit, and finally opening to views of a gill we ride along until the final few hundred meters of open space and unobstructed views.  The road remains one lane and rough throughout. 

Traffic:  Minimal. 

Parking:  There is no parking near the start of the climb.  This is a very narrow road - if you need to park a vehicle, do so on Maes-Y-Llan Road, 1.7 kilometers from the start of the climb (Map; Street View). 
Provisions:  In Ruthin 2.6 kilometers northwest of climb start (Map).
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.
Ruthin has a very nice town square (or, circle in this case).  There are also some historic points of interest there (Google Map & Reviews). 

This is #86 on the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain and is one of 15 climbs in the Wales 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 The Shelf

Ride 4.9 kilometers gaining 264 meters at 5.4% average grade.


One 5 Top 100 Greatest Climbs in the Ruthin area.  The road to and throughout the climb is very narrow.  

One lane road the throughout.

This one has some nice open views of range land as we climb and the climb is comfortable throughout with an average 5.4% and maximum grade of only 8.6% for the steepest kilometer.  


Steepest kilometer begins at km 2.6 (8.6%)

This moderate climb begins just southeast of Ruthin (pop. 5,218 in 2001) in northern Wales. Simon Warren writes “Ruthin is an excellent base to ride many climbs in north Wales and one such climb is The Shelf.”  100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, p. 148.

“The Shelf climbs the Clwydian Range, a 35-kilometre chain of hills that runs roughly north to south, right up in the north-eastern corner of Wales. The climb is on a narrow road that rises in steps, the Clwydians are on your left and there are spectacular views to far bigger mountains on your right. The crux of the Mega Challenge is in those mountains.”

“A good long testing climb in Dengbidhire, Wales. Turning off the B5429, you head south east along a small lane. It is a little rough in places, but the road is quite quiet. The climb is 3 miles long, averaging 5%. In the middle of the climb, there is a steep corner of around 12%, but this gradient doesn’t last long before returning to quite a steady climb up towards Moel Y Waun.”  More 


“There is evidence of Celtic and later Roman settlements in the area. However, little is known of the history of the town before the construction of Ruthin Castle was started in 1277 by Dafydd, the brother of prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. However, he forfeited the castle when he rebelled against King Edward I with his brother; Edward's queen, Eleanor, was in residence in 1281. The Marcher Lord, Reginald de Grey, Justiciar of Chester, was given the Cantref (an administrative district) of Deffrencloyt (Dyffryn Clwyd, the Welsh for Vale of Clwyd), and his family ran the area for the next 226 years. The third Baron de Grey's land dispute with Owain Glyndŵr triggered Glyndŵr's rebellion against King Henry IV, which began on 16 September 1400, when Glyndŵr burned Ruthin to the ground, reputedly leaving only the castle and a few other buildings standing.[6]

The Lord de Grey established a Collegiate Church in 1310. Now the Collegiate and Parish Church of St Peter, it dominates the Ruthin skyline. It has a double nave and boasts two medieval carved roofs. These days it is known for its musical tradition. It has a large choir of children and adults and a four-manual Wadsworth-Willis organ. Behind the church can be seen the old college buildings, school and Christ's Hospital.”  
Wikipedia - Ruthin