Britwell hill

Britwell hill is a short 0.6 miles hill, averaging 9% and having 85 metre of height gain. It is 15% at the steepest, near the top. It has been used in local club hill climbs for quite a long time.  It is a simple hill – going straight up the Chiltern ridge with no attempt at devising any kind of hairpin – it provides an imposing view as you approach from the village of Britwell.


Britwell hill – High Wycombe Club hill Climb

The road surface is good and traffic is light. Though a big drawback is that the road is quite narrow at the bottom, in places it can be hard for a bike and car to squeeze past. I was able to do several intervals without any problems, but you might be unlucky.

A windmill near Britwell hill was apparently featured in the film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ Maybe the car starts flying when making the descent of the hill. You can certainly get a good speed going down, though watch out for approaching cars on the narrow bit.

I rode out Tuesday to have a go at a few intervals. Irritatingly I got the theme tune to ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ in my head. As much as I admire any film with the lead character of Dick Van Dyke and a person called ‘Truly Scrumptious’, it’s not a theme song you particularly want going around in your head when you’re trying to do all out 2 minute intervals.

Fortunately, when you do an intense effort, everything gets blocked from the mind – even the most catchy song lyrics. That’s another bonus of hill climbs I’d never thought of before.

At the weekend I had enjoyed the short hill climbs, so I entered the first interval with great gusto, setting off at a fearsome pace and with the tremendous optimism of holding a sprint pace all the way to the top. The first minute was fantastic, but as the gradient got steeper, the initial burst of power was evaporating and leaving that sinking feeling of running out of steam – just as the gradient become remorselessly steeper. Hopefully, it was a good training effect. but also a reminder, that even 2 and a half minute climbs aren’t all out sprints, you can still badly pace short climbs. And there’s no prize for getting a one minute power pb in a real race.

I did the few hill quite a few times, with a short recovery in between. My legs were well worked over at the end. I rode the 15 miles back to Oxford at around 85 watts and was grateful for a tailwind pushing me home.

I haven’t done Cat and Bec hill climbs since about 2007, but part of me would like the challenge of having another go at these classic climbs. I’d like to have another go at the Rake sometime. They will never be my speciality, but it is possible in past I have carried a bit pessimistic attitude to short hill climbs. They certainly present an interesting challenge.

But, this weekend is Porlock a very different kind of hill 13 minutes + of nice 7% gradient. Looking forward to that.

Britwell hill

  • Distance 0.6miles
  • Average gradient 9%
  • Height gain – 85 metres
  • Strava link

Lancaster CC hill Climb

Getting late to enter, but I promised I would mention the Lancaster CC double hill climb header at Jubilee Tower and Conder Bottom hill climb on Sun  on Sept 28th. I’ve done Jubilee Tower hill climb quite a few times, but this year, that weekend I will be down south at Kingston Wheelers CC Leith Hill and Newbury R.C Westbury HIll.

From organiser

28/09/2014. – for several years now we have had the open Hill climb on Jubilee towers but this year we have decided to include Conder bottoms climb as well. These are still classified as two separate events so you can still enter one or both at £6 each. The first event at 10 AM is Conder bottoms this is followed at midday with Jubilee towers. The event headquarters where you can socialise, have a drink and recover in between is the Bowling Green Pavilion halfway between the two start points. Official closing date for entries is next Tuesday (16th) but I’ll keep entries open until 6 PM on Saturday the 20th.

7 Responses to Britwell hill

  1. Nick E September 18, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    Hi there

    I recall some time back you wrote about a person who is expert at mending torn/ripped cycling gear/clothing. Would you be so good as to send me the details?

    Many thanks

    Yours in climbing spirit


  2. Julian H September 19, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

    Tej, good write-up of Britwell. The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang hill is a bit further along between Fingest and Ibstone. have you tried the dreadful road ( narrow and gravel) between Turville and Ibstone which supposedly has the steepest gradient in the Chilterns at the top?

    • skipolas September 26, 2014 at 10:22 am #

      Hey Tejvan, HWCC have their annual club hill climb this coming Sunday 4th on Britwell Hill. It’s not a BC event, just a annual social, followed by the ‘freewheeling’ contest down Pishill descent to Stonor.
      Do come along and show off your Nationals jersey if you’re not racing elsewhere. Perhaps not to compete though ;-), as I wouldn’t mind topping the leaderboard this year (for once!)

      • tejvan September 26, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

        Cheers, – freewheeling contest sounds fun. Though I”d have to eat some pies on Saturday night. Unfortunately, I’m racing Sunday at Newbury R.C. Hill Climb

  3. Stuart September 28, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    I wouldn’t head out on the 4th, the High Wycombe event was today…


  1. Watford Velo Hill climb - Aston Hill - - September 26, 2015

    […] there are innumerable climbs of about 1 mile long. I often use these climbs for training – Britwell Hill, Watlington Hill, A40 Hill (Confusingly called Aston hill too), Chinnor Hill, Bledlow Ridge, […]

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