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Cycling Climbs of South-West England, by Simon Warren

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A selection of 75 'climbs' in the South-West of England

Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge
Simon Warren

Cycling Climbs of South-West England, by Simon WarrenTitle: Cycling Climbs of South-West England - A Road Cyclist's Guide
Author: Simon Warren
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
Year: 2017
Pages: 175
Order: Quarto
What it is: 75 'climbs' across the South-West of England (Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall)
Strengths: Pocket-sized format with bite-sized profiles
Weaknesses: More about giving directions to the climbs, the reasons to want to ride them are absent

Simon Warren's 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs and Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs are probably familiar to most of you, even those who didn't realise that there were two hundred great cycling climbs in the UK. After having expanded the franchise to the continent (Hellingen 'did' Belgium and 100 Greatest Climbs of the Tour de France 'did', well, the Tour de France) Warren has been busy churning out little pocket guides to the regions of the British Isles. There's been Cycling Climbs of Wales, there's been Cycling Climbs of Yorkshire, there's been Cycling Climbs of the Midlands, there's been Cycling Climbs of South-East England. Now there's Cycling Climbs of South-West England. Cycling Climbs of North-West England, Cycling Climbs of North-East England, and Cycling Climbs of Scotland are all scheduled to arrive before the end of the year. When the Isle of Man, Ireland and the other islands will be added I know not.

For Cycling Climbs of South-West England Warren picks off the six English counties in the bottom left of the map: Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall. His  selection of 75 climbs runs like this:

Climb Location County Length
(Metres)
Alt Gain
(Metres)
Average
Gradient
Dover's Hill Weston-sub-Edge Gloucestershire 1,735 145 8.40%
Saintbury Saintbury Gloucestershire 2,590 189 7.30%
Salter's Lance Winchcombe Gloucestershire 2,541 193 7.60%
Bushcombe Lane Woodmancote Gloucestershire 1,540 167 10.80%
Birdlip Hill Brockworth Gloucestershire 2,910 219 7.50%
Haresfield Beacon Haresfield Gloucestershire 2,350 200 8.50%
Frocester Hill Forcester Gloucestershire 3,100 203 6.50%
Symonds Yat Symonds Yat Gloucestershire 1,800 116 6.40%
Bear Hill North Woodchester Gloucestershire 1,350 129 9.60%
Oakridge Lynch Stroud Gloucestershire 860 94 10.90%
Owlpen Hill Owlpen Gloucestershire 1,580 128 8.10%
The Broadway Dursley Gloucestershire 885 112 12.70%
Hackpen Hill Broad Winton Wiltshire 2,300 99 4.30%
Milton Hill Milton Lilbourne Wiltshire 1,575 78 5.00%
Bowden Hill Bowden Hill Wiltshire 2,320 138 5.90%
Redhorn Hill Urchfront Wiltshire 2,060 88 4.30%
Westbury Hill Bratton Wiltshire 1,375 117 8.50%
Park Hill Longleat Wiltshire 1,740 127 7.30%
Fovant Downs Fovant Wiltshire 1,600 95 5.90%
Belmont Hill Failand Somerset 2,200 113 5.10%
Vale Street Bristol Somerset 74 17 23.00%
Weston Hill Bath Somerset 1,870 165 8.80%
Bannerdown Road Batheaston Somerset 2,740 162 5.90%
Prospect Place Bathford Somerset 700 99 14.10%
Shaft Road Combe Down Somerset 1,200 106 8.80%
Burrington Combe Burrington Somerset 4,100 193 4.70%
Cheddar Gorge Cheddar Somerset 3,540 150 4.20%
Draycott Steep Draycott Somerset 1,930 214 11.10%
Crowcombe Combe Crowcombe Somerset 1,270 188 14.80%
Cothelstone Hill Cothelstone Somerset 3,030 179 5.90%
Ford Street Wellington Somerset 2,600 180 6.90%
Corfe Hill Corfe Somerset 4,220 215 5.10%
Dunkery Beacon Porlock Somerset 3,200 326 10.20%
Porlock Porlock Somerset 4,970 372 7.50%
Porlock Toll Road Porlock Somerset 6,750 364 5.40%
Gold Hill Shaftesbury Dorset 150 24 16.00%
Zig Zag Hill Shaftesbury Dorset 2,075 93 4.50%
Woolland Hill Wooland Dorset 2,320 154 6.60%
Piddle Lane Cerne Abbas Dorset 1,340 112 8.40%
White Way Litton Cheney Dorset 1,050 132 12.60%
Portersham Hill Potersham Dorset 1,880 132 7.00%
Grange Hill Wareham Dorset 4,070 138 3.40%
Countisbury Hill Lynmouth Devon 3,115 284 9.10%
Exmoor Forest Lynmouth Devon 10,900 406 3.70%
Trentishoe Down Kemacott Devon 3,600 270 7.50%
Martinhoe COmmon Kemacott Devon 2,400 230 9.60%
Grasspark Hill Charles Devon 1,300 111 8.50%
Challacombe Woolacombe Devon 1,520 166 10.90%
Clovelly Colvelly Devon 470 80 17.00%
Ashculme Hill Ashculme Devon 900 75 8.30%
Chineway Hill Ottery St Mary Devon 3,360 188 5.60%
Roncombe Hill Cotford Devon 1,000 109 10.90%
Salcombe Hill Sidmouth Devon 1,210 159 13.10%
Stoke Hill Exeter Devon 2,100 109 5.20%
Doccombe Hill Doccombe Devon 4,700 218 4.60%
Old Greystone Hill Milton Abbot Devon 2,700 124 4.60%
Rundlestone Tavistock Devon 8,950 346 3.90%
Dartmeet Dartmeet Devon 1,020 119 11.70%
Lady Meadow Widecombe-in-the-Moor Devon 920 117 12.70%
Widecombe Widecombe-in-the-Moor Devon 1,450 163 11.20%
Newbridge Hill Poundsgate Devon 4,400 254 5.80%
Haytor Bovey Tracey Devon 5,400 335 6.20%
Coombe Hill Coombe Cornwall 1,200 101 8.40%
Crackington Haven Crackington Haven Cornwall 1,900 132 6.90%
Millook Millook Cornwall 1,015 100 9.90%
Boscastle Hill Boscastle Cornwall 3,460 216 6.20%
Bodmin East Moor Trebartha Cornwall 1,350 122 9.00%
Caradon Hill Minions Cornwall 1,550 63 4.10%
Kit Hill Callington Cornwall 3,475 294 8.50%
Bishop's Wood Burlawn Cornwall 325 47 14.50%
Duloe Hill Duloe Cornwall 1,875 111 5.90%
Talland Hill Polperro Cornwall 955 99 10.40%
Grove Road St Mawes Cornwall 650 56 8.60%
Blue Hills St Agnes Cornwall 770 58 7.50%
Porthmeor Hill St Ives Cornwall 860 67 7.80%

Cycling Climbs of South-West England, by Simon Warren

Cycling Climbs of South-West England, by Simon Warren

Each climb is given two pages, one for a photograph which gives some indication of the character of the climb - the road surface - and the other offering a description of the climb along with a basic map and gradient profile. Less a book for curling up and reading, this is something for the tick-list obsessive in your life, even going so far as to provide the user a tick-list at the back of the book where they can cross off the climbs as they do them. What prize you get when you collect the lot I know not.

For me, Warren's little guides are functional books that there's not really a lot to say about other than that they do what they say on the tin (though there is plenty of scope to argue over the selection of climbs, especially when 74 metres of tarmac is being sold as a climb). They're not the sort of books I'd buy but I can imagine how they appeal to others. Me, I'd like to know why I want to scale these climbs. Me, I'd like to be told stories about the region I'm riding through. Me, I'd prefer to see the climbs stitched together into proper rides, joined up climbing, and not left to sit there all on their lonesome, their geographic proximity only discoverable if you go to the bother of marking each of them on a map (unlike other British cycling guidebooks reviewed here, Warren doesn't seem to do GPX files for his readers). I'd also prefer to see a guide book that looked like something I'd get upset about if it turned to papier-mâché in my jersey pocket, something with a bit of artistry to it.

I'd like a book to inspire me. But that's me: I don't do tick-lists. Maybe you do.