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The Best Cycling Climbs on the North York Moors

Updated on October 27, 2014

Tackling The North York Moors Best Road Cycling Climbs

Whilst the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District seem a Mecca for cyclists the North York Moors in the North East of England offer a rider a just as challenging option with some of Yorkshire’s toughest cycling climbs. The area has often been overlooked by cyclists in favor of more publicized areas which mean that for many it’s a secret waiting to be unearthed with some fantastic cycling climbs to test you.

The Rolling Hills of the North York Moors

The rolling hills of the North York Moors make for excellent road cycling
The rolling hills of the North York Moors make for excellent road cycling | Source

Yorkshire’s Toughest Cycling Climb- The Rosedale Chimney

Known to many as “The Chain-breaker”, the Rosedale Chimney (Summit ref SE 720 945 on OS994) is a climb not to be messed with. With its nasty gradient kicking up to 33% at one point in the climb you know it’s going to be an ascent of suffering, followed by elation on reaching the summit.

The cycling climb of the Rosedale Chimney includes an elevation gain of 179 metres although this all comes in a relatively short 1.4 kilometre climb which ascends from Rosedale Abbey where you almost instantly see a sign warning you that the gradient is going to hit 1 in 3 up ahead after taking the turn off almost opposite The Old Coach House Pub.

The torturous 1.4 kilometres of tight hairpins which follow will push you to within revolutions of stopping but that effort will be rewarded once you hit the top of what is arguably one of England’s toughest climbs on one of its steepest roads before finishing atop a plateau of open moorland offering expansive views south.

The Top of the Rosedale Chimney

The view for the top of the Rosedale Chimney climb
The view for the top of the Rosedale Chimney climb | Source

Climbing Boltby Bank

Rising out of the village of Boltby on the far Western side of the North York Moors is the climb of Boltby Bank (Or alternately known as Sneck Yate Bank). The climb heads up through the village over a small hill before dropping down and allowing the climb to start and continuing East for 1.4 kilometres to its summit (Grid ref SE 509 876 OS100). You’ll gain 162 metres of altitude on this tough climb.

After leaving the village of Boltby behind the first hundred metres are gentle with the road quickly ramping up as you pass the turning for Hesketh Grange. You’re soon onto 1-in-6 and 1-in-5 gradients on pretty rough, weathered roads so you’ll feel every pedal stroke until you pass the final, tight right-hand twist in the road onto the plateau at the very top.

White Horse Bank- Iconic Yorkshire Countryside

There aren’t many killer climbs in the UK with a café at the top to gather together with the riders you’ve ascended with and reminisce. Atop White Horse Bank is the Yorkshire Gliding Club and there riders can pull in and celebrate their achievements with coffee and cake. (Summit grid ref SE 516 814 OS100)

Following Carr Lane North out of the picturesque village of Kilburn in the shadow of the White Horse which can be seen in front of you until the road veers to the right. From here take the left turn up Low Town Bank Road sign-posted “White Horse” and pick a relatively easy gearing as the gradient now starts to kick up towards 20% snaking up through a series of tree-lined passageways towards the summit where the moorland opens up over the course of a 1.6 kilometre climb.

What's Your Favourite Yorkshire Cycling Climb?

Do you love cycling on the North York Moors? Or across Yorkshire. We'd love to known your favourite Yorkshire cycling climbs.


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    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 

      3 years ago from Europe

      I have enough trouble driving over Sutton Bank. I've seen people cycle White Horse, but it's too much for me. Cheery ambles around Helmsley and Ampleforth are challenging enough.


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