Winnats Pass

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

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

Can you drive through Winnats Pass?

Tucked away at the western end of the Hope Valley, the road to the summit is totally paved. It runs through a natural amphitheatre with steep slopes and rock faces on either side of the road. The name Winnats comes from ‘Windy Gates’. A local legend says that the pass is haunted by a young couple with a tragic love story: Alan and Clara were robbed and murdered by miners in 1758. Their bodies were discovered 10 years later.

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 Peak District. It's not really long - just a few miles or so but kind of 'must see'. The road was surfaced during the Second World War.

Is Winnats Pass difficult?

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

Is Winnats Pass open?

Set high in 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. Due its steepness, a new 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 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 permanently closed to traffic. 

How hard is Winnats Pass to cycle?

Located to the west of Castleton, in northern England, the climb is very steep, hitting a 28% of 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.
Road suggested by: Mil Woz
Image credit: Depositphotos