A brutally steep (28%) climb to Winnats Pass in England

Winnats Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 416m (1,364ft) above sea level, located in the High Peak district of Derbyshire, in England. The road to the summit averages over 10%, with a considerable section of 28% near the top.

Winnats Pass

Where is Winnats Pass?

The pass is situated in the northern part of the country, to the west of Castleton, at the western end of the Hope Valley. The name of the pass is a corruption of 'wind gates' due to the swirling winds through the pass.

Can you drive through Winnats Pass?

The road to the summit is entirely paved. Set high in the National Trust's High Peak Estate and the High Peak borough of Derbyshire, it runs through a natural amphitheatre with steep slopes and rock faces on either side of the road. Due to its steepness, a new road known as the old Mam Tor Road was built in 1819 to avoid this pass. The new road crossed the main body of the landslide twice. Due to the local geology, the road began to subside almost as soon as it was built. Because of numerous landslides, the road saw constant repairs and reconstruction over the following 160 years. In 1977, the road was restricted to single-lane traffic. The costs of repair eventually led to the road being abandoned in 1979, and the old Mam Tor Road was permanently closed to traffic.

How long is Winnats Pass?

The road to the summit, known as Winnats Pass road, is 9.33km (5.8 miles) long, running east-west from Hope to Sparrowpit. It’s said to be one of the best motorcycle roads in the Peak District. It's not really long - just a few miles or so but kind of a 'must-see.' The road was surfaced during the Second World War.

Is Winnats Pass difficult?

Surrounded by towering limestone pinnacles, the drive is quite challenging. It’s narrow and steep. Combined with the narrowness of the road, it can become a little crowded with road traffic. The narrowness of the road and its maximum slope have caused it to be closed to buses, coaches, and vehicles over 7.5 tons in weight. Risk of rock slides.

Is Winnats Pass open?

Set high in the Peak District National Park, access to the pass is typically open all year round, with the occasional closure in winters due to dangerous weather conditions.

How hard is Winnats Pass to cycle?

The climb is very steep, reaching a 28% maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Starting at Castleton, the ascent is 1.6km (0.99 miles) long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 188 meters. The average gradient is 11.7%. The climb was regularly featured in the now-defunct Tour of the Peak cycle race each autumn.

Is Winnats Pass haunted?

According to local lore, a haunting tale surrounds the pass, involving a young couple named Alan and Clara who eloped in 1758. Unfortunately, their journey to Peak Forest Chapel through the pass took a tragic turn when they were robbed and murdered by miners. The perpetrators concealed their bodies in a mine shaft, where they remained undiscovered until a decade later.
Road suggested by: Mil Woz
Image credit: Depositphotos