We have traveled through England in 2018 and 2022 to document the hardest and most epic bike climbs there. Our lists are based upon (1) our objective Fiets index ranking - for the hardest climbs, (2) Simon Warren’s (https://www.100climbs.co.uk/books) contribution to our effort by listing for us his Top 10 Lists for hardest and for most epic bike climb in England and (3) our subjective assessment of the roughly 50 top and recommended climbs we’ve done in the country.
The following are lists of the 3 hardest via Fiets (the 10 photos in the collage at the top of page are the Top 10 from #1 The Great Dun Fell to #10 Lamps Moss), Simon Warren's Top 10 Hardest and Simon Warren’s Top 10 Most Epic road bike climbs of England.
HARDEST BIKE CLIMB IN ENGLAND BY FIETS FORMULA
Ride 4.6 miles gaining 2,044’ at 8.4% average grade.
This unique road bike climb is both the hardest and the highest paved road in England. The climb takes us from 714 meters, to the radar dome 848 meters (2,782’) above sea level in just 7.5 kilometers! The road ends at an Air Traffic Control facility that services Northern England and Southern Scotland.
SECOND HARDEST CLIMB IN ENGLAND (FIETS)
Cycling Hardknott Pass West
Ride 1.4 miles gaining 1,003’ meters at 13.5% average grade.
“The king of climbs and arguably the hardest road in the land, the legendary Hardknott Pass is an amazing sliver of tarmac. First built in 2AD by the Romans, the pass is unbelievably tough from both directions.” Simon Warren, 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills, p. 143.
THIRD HARDEST CLIMB IN ENGLAND (FIETS)
Ride 1.6 miles gaining 1,003’ at 12.2% average grade (¼ mile at 18.5%)
This climb begins in sight of Bristol Channel to the north and hits us straight away! The first 300 meters average 11% (a nice warm up), followed by the 450 meters double hairpin section at 18.5% average grade. This difficult 2.5 kilometer climbs is bordered for the first kilometer by bushes and trees until opening up with pasture lands and northerly views of Bristol Channel for the last 1.5 kilometers.
ENGLAND’S HARDEST ROAD BIKE CLIMB - SIMON WARREN PICK
Cycling Bamford Clough - the steepest bike climb in the UK.
Ride only 3/10’s of a mile but gain 381’ at 24% over that stretch!!
SIMON WARREN #2 HARDEST
Cycling Hardknott Pass West
Ride 3.2 kilometers gaining 314 meters at 9.8% average grade.
SIMON WARREN #3 HARDEST
See summary above.
Simon Warren’s picks for third to tenth hardest bike climbs in England:
5. Wrynose Pass
7. Chapel Fell
10. Trooper Lane
SIMON WARREN #1 MOST EPIC CLIMB IN ENGLAND
Cycling Winnats Pass, England.
Ride 1.2 miles gaining 672’ at 11% average grade.
This climb comes in at number 33 on Simon Warren’s list of the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs in Great Britain. 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” (100 Greatest Cycling Climbs). When we asked Simon for a list of his 10 most epic bike climbs in England, Wales, Scotland, and the UK, he listed Winnats Pass as #1 England and #4 UK (after Bealach na Ba, Stwlan Dam, and Bwlch y Groes
SIMON WARREN #2 MOST EPIC
THE GREAT DUN FELL - SEE ABOVE
SIMON WARREN #3 MOST EPIC
HARDKNOTT PASS - SEE ABOVE
Simon Warren’s picks for third to tenth most epic bike climbs in England:
4. The Burway
5. Fleet Moss
10. Birker Fell
PJAMM would add Honister Pass to the list of Top 10 Most Epic England Bike Climbs.