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Holme Moss

Holme Moss

Holme Moss is a moor in the south Pennines, on the border between Derbyshire and West Yorkshire. It is just inside the boundary of the Peak District National Park.

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The River Holme rises on the moor and flows through the village of Holme, about a mile below the moor, and the town of Holmfirth. The upper part of the moor continues into Black Hill which is crossed by the Pennine Way north-south footpath.

Holme Moss has long been considered one of England's most punishing bicycle ascents, rising some 400m from the floor of the Holme Valley at Holmbridge in about 5km.



The climb begins up Holme Bank, before proceeding with a slight let-off through Holme village to the bridge that marks the beginning of the climb proper. From here, the only way is up, and a tough way it is at that, going initially through switchbacks that have none of the grace or gentility of their alpine counterparts, but serve merely to provide a nasty surprise when the poor rider turns the corner directly into the South-Westerly wind. The final pull is long and gruelling, passing as it does a narrowed section of road that has been under repair for many years, and that offers a nasty experience with traffic (notably motorbikes) on busy Sundays. Once the car park has been passed, however, the end is in sight, as the road flattens and the rider's gears can slowly be cranked up once more as the true summit of the climb – the sign marking entry into Derbyshire – is reached.

From here options are limited. Most casual riders from the Holme Valley will simply turn back, perhaps stopping off at the car park to take in the view, gather their thoughts (and their breath for the hurtling decent) and, if they're lucky, have an ice-cream from the van that occasionally visits. Alternatively, you can descend the gentler southern slope (though gentle being a term used loosely here), where you soon join the dreadfully, and often prohibitively, busy A6024, Woodhead road, the main link between Manchester and Sheffield. Unless you are a fan of lorries hurtling past you, it is advisable to leave this road quickly, perhaps heading towards Glossop and the Snake Pass. From this side, the gradient is less, but more continuous than that of the Northern approach, and a world of pain is still encountered by all who attempt it.

This explains the Moss's fearsome reputation, and it is for this reason that it has been, on many occasions, picked as part of the route of many of Britain's premier bike races.

One of National Grid Wireless's main radio Transmitting Stations is located on the moor.

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