As hills go, Dover’s Hill is very well-known. It’s the site of the famous ‘Cotswold Olympicks’ or Dover’s Games held every year on hill followed by a torchlight procession down in Chipping Campden and a general town-wide level of drunkenness.
From a cycling perspective however, it’s interesting as the site of several British National Hill Climb Championships. People like former Cervelo TestTeam rider Dan Fleeman, 1980 Olympic Cyclist Jeff Williams and 5 time Hill Climb winner Jim Henderson have all conquered this climb to be National Champion.
Dover’s Hill Climb
The hill itself is 1 mile long with a little bit of tenuous climbing from the road junction up to the real hill. Once you reach the tight left-hander, it’s go!
The hill ramps up slowly for a hundred metres or past the last house before getting steeper as you go round the sharp right hand corner. This corner is lethal on the descent if you don’t know it. As you climb in the near dark from the thick tree canopy (I often take off the sunglasses for this climb) you’re in a battle where the hill is getting harder and you’re getting less strong. Eventually by the farm on the right you get a brief respite before starting the hard work again.
Nearing the top of Dover’s Hill
This is the first point where you can see the top of Dover’s Hill and all you have to do to reach it is one last blast up the steepest part of the climb, around 12-14% at this point. On the upside the trees disappear from the right hand side of the road and (especially in the Summer) you get a great view of the Cotswold Edge extending down to Cheltenham, with Cleeve Hill very visible.
Battling through, out of the saddle, you go back into tree cover and finally reach the top after around 6-7 minutes. The car park entrance on the left being the peak and a fun, speedy roll down to the crossroads junction and into Chipping Campden to get your breath back. The relentless steepness, with no respite in the middle like Saintbury, makes this one a personal wall of a climb.
My PB – 6minutes 33seconds – 728th of 6115 on Strava
Somehow still not improved upon since 2013, need to do it as a short blast rather than during a sportive!
2018 update – finally beaten this!