On the back of Simon Warren’s very enjoyable and succesful 100 climbs books I thought I’d do a list of my fave / notorious / avoidable climbs in the Chesterfield area The compilation’s in no particular order – just what comes into my head. Some of them are painful, some a joy and some have a significance. Please allow me to indulge….
This is a little gem of a climb and a cracker of a descent. Starting in Barlow it heads up to Highlightly. Then there’s a lovely switchback, you go round the corner and boom a wall of tarmac is in front of you. Keep shifting down like your life depends on it and winch your way up to a postbox on the right and the road flattens. Ignore the right hand turn which is another gem of a road and past a few very nice houses. Then the road narrows and climbs up to Cowley Lane in Holmesfield.
Little sibling of it’s big bro – Apperknowle hill, this climb is a little less busy and a hell of a lot sharp. I prefer this one to the direct route up to Appreknowle as you get the bonus of the traverse along the edge of the valley side with views over into the Peak.
Another Cordwell Valley cracker. Starting at the bottom of Smeltinghouse Lane this dirt climb heads up to the A61 bypass. On a good day the gates are open at Monkwood Farm so you don’t have to dismount to open them.
One of my local climbs and a frequent route out into the Peak. Not particularly steep, but goes on for quite a while. Last time I looked pro-cyclist Ben Swift held the KOM on the climb at a blisteringly quick pace.
This hill has multiple climbs up it, but my fave is the one from Holymoorside. It starts with a fairly straight ramp and then climbs up via a series of alpine style switch backs to the top. The surface is a tad sketchy but rideable on a road bike.
Cotton Mill Hill
This one’s a bit of a strange one as it’s finish is a bit of a col where you’ve the option of carrying on to suffer a bit more (up Bage Hill) or call it a day.
The climb starts in the genteel village of Holymoorside next to the Bull pub. From here you’ve got a couple of switchbacks. Once you are round them look out for an oak tree on the horizon – that’s the finish.
Castle Lane, Bolsover
Most folks think of the main road through Bolsover, but hidden away in a housing estate is a real gem of a climb that enables you to enter a whole new pain cave. Turn right at the bottom of the main road and head past a model village that if it was in Londonshire, the cottages would go for a lot of money, but because it’s Bo’ser they don’t. Head up through a fairly non descript housing estate and then turn left again and the fun starts. The road climbs under the shadow of the castle. If this was in Belgium they’d be including it on a Spring Classic.
Black Bank Oxcroft
Black Bank for whatever reason reminds me of one of the Flandrian climbs around Oudenaarde. Ok, it’s lacking in cobbles, but it’s short punchy and just long enough for you to reach your threshold without settling into a regular tempo.
Bole Hill, Wingerworth
There’s a number of climbs in the Wingerworth area, but Bole Hill is by far the hardest. It’s one of those climbs that starts hard and gets harder. I’ve stopped at the summit before and been asked by passing motorists if I was OK it’s that brutal.
Tapton Golf Course
This is another local gem. Part of the Transpennine Trail, the climb starts heading up to the golf club house. After heading through the car park and dodging folk in strange trousers the climb turns to gravel and makes it’s way between the greens up a woody track. At the top you pop out on a little used road which takes you around the back of the hospital.