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Winnats Pass in England

A narrow and winding road at the Peak District National Park

Best time: March–November

Winnats Pass
Winnats Pass
Winnats Pass
Winnats Pass
Winnats Pass

Winnats Pass is a hilly pass in the Peak District of Derbyshire, England. Winnats limestone gorge lies between the small towns of Hope and Sparrowpit to the west of the village of Castleton. The narrow, steep road with a 28% gradient in the top section winds through a cleft. It is asphalted and quite busy, even though it is closed for buses, coaches and heavy vehicles over 7.5 tons. It is not advised to use the road during winter since its steep climbs get very dangerous when covered with ice.

Tall limestone ridges surround the road, and some parts of these ridges resemble a natural amphitheater with steep slopes on both sides. Every year the road hosts annual access relays as well as Tour of the Peak cycle race. The Pass is 9.3 km (5.8 mi) long, and its name of the road derives from 'wind gates.' There is also a rumor that Winnats Pass is haunted by the ghosts of a young couple killed here by miners in 1758.

Attractions on the pass include four caves in the Castleton area that can be reached by boat through a flooded mining tunnel. It also features a deep vertical shaft called "the bottomless pit." Climbers often try their luck on the walls of the gorge; however, this activity is somewhat dangerous.

Practical info

What is the ideal time to visit Winnats Pass?

The period between March and November is the best window for visiting Winnats Pass. This is attributed to the dangers of the steep climbs the road has, making it dangerous to use during winter. If you visit within these months, you will enjoy picturesque views of Peak District National Park. However, it is essential to note that the road is closed to coaches, heavy vehicles, and buses over 7.5 tons, making it tricky to navigate personal cars through the narrow roads. Show more

Why is it discouraged to utilize the road during winter on Winnats Pass?

Winnats Pass experiences sharp climbs along the road, which get dangerous when they freeze during winter. The incompetence of drivers on the road makes winter more hazardous, causing accidents. This road is the only pass to the village, making it crucial to the communities' sustenance. Therefore, the recommendation for it not to be used is to preserve human life. Navigating the narrow roads on the way is hard enough to ensure safety in some instances. Show more

What two annual events are celebrated at Winnats Pass?

Winnats Pass hosts two prominent annual events. The first is a cycling race, the Tour of the Peak, scheduled every year, where participants race through the winding pass. Secondly, there is an annual access relay for runners who race around the Peak District National Park. These events are challenging, with the rugged terrain making them even more grueling. People travel from around the country to witness these events, which have become a staple for Winnats Pass. Show more

Does Winnats Pass have any legends tied to it?

Winnats Pass has a legend surrounding it, stating that miners killed a young couple on the pass in 1758, leading to the ghosts of the two now haunting the area. Additionally, people have reported witnessing haunting scenes around the area, including a horse-drawn carriage moving on the roads at night. Despite not possessing any scientific backing, these legends add some air of mystery and beauty to the already captivating photos of the area. Show more

What attractions make Winnats Pass popular?

Winnats Pass remains a tourist destination because of the range of attractions available. The location features numerous large caves situated in the Castleton region. Tourists can reach these caves by boat via a flooded mining tunnel. Another popular feature is the deep vertical chamber known as “the bottomless pit.” Rock climbing enthusiasts also frequent the site to challenge themselves by taking on the steep cliffs in the area. For all visitors, the panoramic views of the Peak District National Park are undoubtedly a treat. Show more

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