The Short and Steep Cambridgeshire Climbs

These are Cambridgeshire’s short and steep climbs, guaranteed to your heart pumping. There really is only one way to tackle them and that’s with an out the saddle sprint. Keep it going until you either reach the top or your lactic filled jelly legs cramp and you rock over the bars like a drunk.

The climbs listed here are all 20m (1 exception) with average gradients >5% and max gradients > 10%. Most of them have at least 100m where the gradient averages around 10%.

The majority of these climbs are in West Cambridgeshire. Surprisingly, there are no climbs (that I have found) making the grade around the Newmarket Ridge.

See also the Big Cambridgeshire Climbs

1. Love’s Hill
Av. Gradient: 7%
Max Gradient: 10.7%
Distance: 300m
Gain: 21m
Nice little climb leaving Castor, near Peterborough.

2. Morborne Hill
Av. Gradient: 7.2%
Max Gradient: 14.4%
Distance: 360m
Gain: 26m
Climbing up to the Morbonne Transmitter, the steepest section averages 13.6% over 110m. Once after climbing this hill, I passed Russell Downing, riding with a bunch of Peterborough CC riders and heading in the opposite direction. Weed.

3. Staunch Hill
Av. Gradient: 6.4%
Max Gradient: 12.3%
Distance: 600m
Gain: 36m
This climb finishes next to the Green Man in remote Leighton Bromswold. It is an out of the way, on a road to nowhere (OK the descent takes you to the A14, but it amounts to the same thing). I reckon this is one of Cambridgeshire’s toughest climbs. The gradient starts gently then ramps up at a steady 9% average gradient for the 320m climb to the pub.

4. Belton’s Hill
Av. Gradient: 6%
Max Gradient: 11.1%
Distance: 200m
Gain: 13m
A small but perfectly formed steep up and over, it climbs the same ridge as Staunch Hill to the north and forms the first part of St Ives CC  Hill climb.

5. Woolley Hill
Av. Gradient: 6.6%
Max Gradient: 20.6%
Distance: 300m
Gain: 20m
Climbs the same ridge as Staunch Hill and Belton’s Hill. Like Staunch Hill the road takes you down to the A14 with no flyover, only this time the hill is further off the beaten track. Strava states the max gradient is 20.6%, however, I’m not convinced. It is certainly a steep kick and my OS map marks a 14-20% gradient chevron, but a 15% average seems more plausible. Eitherway, this really is one for the dedicated Cambridgeshire climber. Note, the min/max values on the Strava segment are wrong, however, I’ve checked against my OS map and the 20m height gain is right!

6. Ellington Thorpe Hill
Av. Gradient: 5.5%
Max Gradient: 12.5%
Distance: 500m
Gain: 30m
This climbs the same ridge to the south of the A14 as the Long climbs at Catworth, Stow Longa and Stocking Lane. However, there any commonality ends. Whereas those can be kindly climbs, Ellington Hill only ever wants to play rough. It starts off gently enough, but once you hit the trees it’s a 10% average over cracked and broken tarmac. Like Woolley and Staunch Hill, Ellington just leads you straight down to the A14, however, it isn’t too big a detour to make if you’re around Grafham Water. Like Staunch Hill, this is a tough one.

7. Agdengreen Spinney
Av. Gradient: 5.2%
Max Gradient: 13.4%
Distance: 400m
Gain: 20m
Short and steep, what else did you expect?

8. Tetworth Hill
Av. Gradient: 8.6%
Max Gradient: 14.4%
Distance: 230m
Gain: 19m
This hill is one upward sweep of a V cut into Greensands ridge east of St Neots. It is climbed on St Neots CC TT circuit, ride it and you’ll understand why fast times are rarely posted.

9. Croydon Hill
Av. Gradient: 8.4%
Max Gradient: 13.7%
Distance: 400m
Gain: 34m
The minor road to Hatley rises gently from the B1042, but ain’t that dull? Relief from ennui is provided by a 250m long 10% plus kick. From the summit, the ride through Hatley is down hill and lovely. It is another tough Cambs climb.

10. Chapel Hill (East)
Av. Gradient: 6%
Max Gradient: 12.6%
Distance: 650m
Gain: 39m
It may Sit opposite All Saint’s Church in Haslingfield, but don’t expect a stairway to heaven. All this haunch of land has to offer is 250m of 9% average gradient hell. Do not despair though, the gradient does ease then you drop down the gorgeous descent to Barrington.

11. Limekiln Road
Av. Gradient: 4.4%
Max Gradient: 7.1%
Distance: 500m
Gain: 22m
Not a bad little climb, but the narrow road can be quite busy.

12. Raveley Road
Av. Gradient: 5.7%
Max Gradient: 12.6%
Distance: 440m
Gain: 25m
One of the first climbs off the Fens as you to head to Huntingdon. Superb views to the north.

13. Woodwalton Hill
Av. Gradient: 5.9%
Max Gradient: 9.2%
Distance: 400m
Gain: 21m
Another little leg shocker coming off the Fens.

14. Stretchworth Hill
Av. Gradient: 3.9%
Max Gradient: 7.2%
Distance: 500m
Gain: 19m
This is about as good as you’re going to find in the Newmarket Ridge. Once you’re onto the ridge it really is quite flat.

About richardjostler

Data Scientist working at Rothamsted Research
This entry was posted in Cambridgeshire, Countryside, Cycling, Hill climb, Route planning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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