Top 10 Hardest Cycling Climbs in Lincolnshire

Yes Lincolnshire has hills! No really, it does!

Lincolnshire contains three upland areas: the Lincolnshire Wolds, the Lincolnshire Edge and the Kesteven Uplands. They are characterised by steep escarpments and rolling dip slopes peppered with small sheer valleys carved by long forgotten glaciers.

In fact it’s quite easy to head out on your bike and climb over 600m (2000ft) in the space of just 60km (37mi) encountering gradients of up to 20%. So we have a few climbs. Where are they then and how tough are they?

Number 1: Nettleton Hill

  • Length 0.5km
  • Avg Grade 12%
  • Max Grade 17%
  • Elevation Gain 60m

Nettleton Hill was the centrepiece of the Tour of the Wolds professional road race. It’s easy to see why the organisers chose it. There’s no hiding from its relentless gradient. It should be called the Wolds Wall! The road just goes straight up and gets progressively steeper. Even the pros get out of the saddle for this!

After the Strava segment ends the road actually continues to climb gently for another 3km until you reach the highest point in the Wolds. Your reward for reaching this point is a spectacular view over the Ancholme Valley and the distant spires of Lincoln Cathedral.

Number 2: Hillcrest

  • Length 1.9km
  • Avg Grade 6%
  • Max Grade 18%
  • Elevation Gain 116m

A little further south from Nettleton Hill is Hillcrest in Normanby le Wold. The main section is similar to Nettleton Hill with a severe gradient that just gets steeper, although a few little turns hide the full extent of the climb. The road rises to 18% just before a junction near the top, which provides a moment of respite before the final and viscous section at 15% that leads into Lincolnshire’s highest village. Keep going through the village and over a little ramp to complete the segment.

Note: make sure you turn right when you reach the junction near the top. If you turn left you’ll ride up a slightly  easier but still formidable climb.

Number 3: Tetford Hill

  • Length 0.8km
  • Avg Grade 9%
  • Max Grade 16%
  • Elevation Gain 76m

Tetford  Hill is the Queen of the Southern Wolds. A long drag north from the village takes you to the foot of the climb, which has an immediate ramp of about 16%. It then slightly eases up to about 10% as you enter a woodland glade. There’s then another kick up before a slightly easier section and then one more final steep section that eases off as you approach the top and the crossroads of the Bluestone Heath Road.

Number 4: Danns Hill

  • Length: 0.8km
  • Avg Grade: 10%
  • Max Grade: 20%
  • Elevation Gain: 80m

Danns Hill is a quiet and narrow climb in North Lincolnshire that rises quickly out of the village of Saxby All Saints. Soon ramping up to 20% with a sharp corner leading into woodland the climb winds up the steep escarpment of the northern tip of the Wolds before ascending up and over farm fields to a much more open environment with stunning views over the Ancholme.

Note: the stats would suggest this is actually harder than Tetford Hill but Tetford Hill has a long drag preceding the climb proper, which saps energy before you even begin the climb, especially in a headwind. I’ve ridden both and Tetford is definitely the harder climb.

Number 5: Ruckland Hill

  • Length 0.4km
  • Avg Grade 12%
  • Max Grade 20%
  • Elevation Gain 55m

This climb is a hidden devil. Even British Time Trial Champion Alex Dowsett could barely get above 13mph going up here in the British National Championships. If you’ve arrived here after going over Tetford Hill you’re in for a world of hurt! The only good thing about it is that you can take a bit of momentum up the climb from the previous descent.

Number 6: Bully Hill

  • Length: 0.5km
  • Avg Grade 10%
  • Max Grade: 17%
  • Elevation Gain 54m

The aptly named Bully Hill is a short sharp beast that is the sting in the tail of an undulating road that rises up from the Ancholme Valley to Tealby village and along the edge of a steep sided sandstone valley.

Like Nettleton Hill it has a hard unrelenting gradient but not quite as severe and the final section eases off rather than gets steeper. Still, at no point does it drop below 10% so there’s no hiding here. This climb is a bully in no uncertain terms to tired legs.

Number 7: Saxby Hill

  • Length 0.7km
  • Avg Grade 9%
  • Max Grade 18%
  • Elevation Gain 73m

Saxby Hill is a great climb and the twin of Danns Hill at Saxby All Saints in North Lincolnshire. Ramping up to about 18% early on the climb weaves past quiet fields and through pleasant woodland. There are two corners. After the first corner the gradient eases, a bit, before ramping up one last time at the final corner then slowly easing as you crest the top of the escarpment.

Number 8: Red Hill

  • Length 1.3km
  • Avg Grade 6%
  • Max Grade 15%
  • Elevation Gain 80m

Red Hill is famous for the cap of red chalk that underlies its geology. The surrounding land is part of a nature reserve managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

From the bottom the sight of the hill ahead seems pretty big and the climb gets steadily harder until you reach a tight hairpin bend halfway up beneath an outcrop of red chalk. After that the climb slowly eases until you reach the top of the climb and the second highest point in Lincolnshire.

Number 9: Mansgate Hill

  • Length 1.5km
  • Avg Grade 7%
  • Max Grade 15%
  • Elevation Gain 104m

The only other climb on this list with an elevation gain over 100m. Mansgate Hill is a beast! A little deceptive, it doesn’t seem that steep at the beginning but always seems to start sapping your energy early on, and then you hit the steep bit! The road can be quite exposed and in a headwind can be murder. The gradient shifts about interfering with your rhythm but nevertheless its a very satisfying climb to do when you finally get to the top.

Number 10: Bonby Bank

  • Length 0.6km
  • Avg Grade 10%
  • Max Grade 13%
  • Elevation Gain 60m

This hill sounds ominously like ‘Boltby Bank’, one of North Yorkshire’s most feared climbs. The sense of ominous foreboding is perhaps justified. Bonby is like Boltby’s little cousin. After a steady start it rises up to a relentless gradient of between 12% and 13% all the way to the top. Just south of Saxby Hill and Danns Hill it completes a trio of severely steep climbs. Ideal training if you’re planning a ride in the Moors.