Wrynose Pass

The road to Wrynose Pass in Cumbria is for confident drivers only

Wrynose Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 398m (1,305ft) above the sea level, located in the Lake District National Park of Cumbria, in England. You need to be a confident driver to attempt this, with gradients up to 1 in 4.

How long is the Wrynose Pass?

Located between the Duddon Valley and Little Langdale, the rollercoaster road to the summit is 6.27km (3.9 miles) long, running west-east from Cockley Beck to Little Langdale. The road continues over Hardknott Pass. At the top of the pass is the Three Shire Stone, marking the meeting point of the historic counties of Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmorland.

How hard is the Wrynose Pass?

Much of the route follows an old Roman road. The unusual name, Wrynose, comes from ‘pass of the stallion’ and referred to the fact that the steep gradients needed a well-muscled horse to attain the top. It's a serious drive which can get quite hairy at times when negotiating with cars coming the other way. It is best navigated by confident drivers who are unruffled by heights. The pass itself has a series of hairpin bends that can be unnerving for drivers of cars and minibuses (heavier vehicles are advised not to use the pass), especially as the tarmac has become quite smooth in places. The road is single-track and narrow in places with unforgiving dry stone walls. The road becomes especially dangerous for the brakes on a couple of particularly steep turns and it’s one of the most challenging sections of road in England. With 30% slopes, up and down, drivers are expected to give way to oncoming traffic that is ascending the pass. This road is very narrow but there are regular places where you can pull in to make room for oncoming traffic.

Is Wrynose Pass open?

During winter months, the pass is often closed and impassable for vehicles due to snow. It’s a really fun drive with fantastic views but not for a faint hearted driver especially if the weather is bad. Avoid going in winter, when there can be snow at higher elevations, making a challenging drive even more challenging. 

How long does it take to drive the Wrynose Pass?

To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 15 and 25 minutes. It’s one of the most spectacular climbs in England. The best time to ride the pass is between April and October when the days are longer and the weather is at its best. Ride early in the day to fully enjoy the area. At the top of the pass is the Three Shire Stone, marking the meeting point of the historic counties of Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmorland.




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