If, as I do with my ride buddies from time to time, you find yourself cycling over the North York Moors towards the Yorkshire Wolds, it is likely that you will have a hill to climb after passing through the Vale of Pickering. Usually we will ride up Leavening Brow, but most recently we have carried ourselves up West Heslerton Wold, also known as White Gate. This is not the stiffest hill in the area – and it isn’t on a par with the North York Moors roads out of Egton Bridge, or Murton Bank out of Hawnby – but with a fair few miles in the legs it is a testing climb.
I also like to climb this hill on longer rides from my home on the flatlands of East Yorkshire. A ride out to the foothills of the North York Moors is a rewarding return for a long day in the saddle, and White Gate is a deserved treat after those flat miles between the Moors and the Wolds. Pedal smartly away from the staggered crossing of the A64 and start to sort out your gears ready for slipping on to a larger rear sprocket. (I should point out that there appears to be a roadside cycle track along the A64 between Sherburn and West Heslerton, but I prefer the loop to Snainton rather than having my nerves shredded by the rumble of (fairly close) passing lorries and countless motorcars.)
The road gently ramps up and before long I am in that bottom gear and trying to maintain some sort of momentum. My Garmin device invariably makes the disapproving beep that signals either exceptionally slow speed, or that I am passing under the cover of overhanging trees and the GPS signal has been temporarily lost. The road then bears to the left and soon after follows a right-hand bend that provides no respite. The top of the climb is hidden from view, so just keep turning those pedals until the two road signs come in to view near the top of the hill. Try to snatch a glimpse over your shoulder to appreciate the view behind and perhaps prepare yourself for the lumpy roads towards Cowlam and Sledmere that follow.
View White Gate (West Heslerton Wold) in Strava
Here’s an extract from Roger England’s excellent Hill Climbs on the Yorkshire Wolds:
… West Heslerton which has been used on the Milk Race, is another tough climb. Don’t be misled by the 16% sign at the bottom – the middle section is consistently steep with gradients between 12% and 17% for 400 metres.
Simon Warren, in his highly recommended Cycling Climbs of Yorkshire: A Road Cyclist’s Guide, gives White Gate a rating of 3/10, in comparison to Nunburnholme Hill at 2/10 and Hanging Grimston at 4/10.
West Heslerton Wold via Snainton from Sledmere in Garmin Connect (30 miles)
West Heslerton Wold via Snainton from Hull in Garmin Connect (100 miles)
Sykes Churches Trail from Field House Farm campsite (100 miles)