The UK's Roller Coaster Roads

Originally Published: August 2021
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Motorists looking to go on road trips this summer are being warned about roller coaster roads in the UK.

Motoring experts at LeaseCar.uk have revealed a round-up of the routes you may want to avoid this holiday season due to their roller-coaster-like nature.

From narrow roads, steep hills and sharp corners, there are many roads around the UK which resemble a roller coaster that Brits might not be aware of until it's too late.

Among them are routes including Snake Pass in Derbyshire, Vale Street in Bristol and Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District.

A spokesperson for LeaseCar.uk said “We want motorists heading out on the road this summer to be well prepared and know what sort of roads they may be coming up against.

“These twisty roads are enough to incite fear in even the most experienced of drivers. Their sheer drops, sharp bends and uneven terrain should definitely be avoided where possible!”

rollercoaster roads

1. Vale Street

This residential street located in Bristol is one of the steepest roads in England. Manoeuvring its way between houses, this tightly packed road is sure to cause concern to even the most skilled motorist. 

Drivers at the bottom of the road are met with an incline so sharp that it is almost vertical, with a roughly 33% gradient incline. In fact, this incline is so immense that residents often have to park their cars horizontally outside their properties so that the cars don't roll away on their own. Although not ideal for motorists, perhaps this street could provide some excellent opportunities for skiing in the winter!

2. Kirkstone Pass

Breaking records as the Lake District's highest road, Kirkstone Pass has a spine-chilling altitude of 1,489 feet. The road gradient approaches 1 in 4 and is traditionally referred to as ‘the struggle’ by locals due to the harsh gradient making it so difficult for motorists. 

However, ‘the struggle’ may eventually pay off for motorists as the summit reveals stunning views of both Patterdale and Troutbeck valleys. 

3. Rosedale Chimney 

Located in North Yorkshire in the centre of the North York Moors national park, this roller coaster road is a mountain pass with a gradient of 33% and a maximum of around 1 in 3. This fearsome road isn't only difficult due to its steep gradient, it is also very narrow and challenges motorists with a series of steep turns. 

4. Snake Pass

The name of this road alone is sure to warn motorists that this is a roller coaster road. Filled with twists and turns, this road sits between the Ladybower reservoir and Glossop. The road’s poor accident record should concern any motorist looking to travel this route. 

The route was once advertised as the main avenue between Manchester and Sheffield, however authorities have recently thought better of directing traffic towards this dangerous trail. 

5. Zig Zag Hill

The aptly named Zig Zag hill is the bendiest one mile stretch of road in the UK. This route is attributed a roller coast road spot as a result of its steep incline, several sharp turns and rocky terrain! 

The hill is part of the B3081 road located near Shaftesbury, Dorset. Drivers making the route up this winding road could be forgiven for believing they are ascending on to a mile of alpine driving due to the vast trees surrounding the route. Motorists are warned that many of the sharp corners along the route can often be covered in leaves and grease, at times disguising the sharp angles of the road. 

6. Cat and Fiddle road

Once labelled the ‘UK’s most dangerous road”, this ribbon-like route is a 7.5 mile stretch which runs between Buxton, Derbyshire, Macclesfield and Chesire.

Whilst offering picturesque views of the Greater Manchester conurbation, the route is scattered with a plethora of sharp roller coaster corners, which have caused many motorists to lose control of their vehicle unexpectedly. 

More recently, improvements have been made to the road to make it safer for motorists, including the installation of motorcycle crash barriers and speed check cameras. Luckily for motorists looking to take this route, these improvements have taken the road away from the top spot of most dangerous.

7. A361

This treacherous road is the longest of this run-down, spanning a length of 195 miles. However, the most dangerous part of the road is said to be the section connecting Chipping Norton to Banbury in Oxfordshire. This single carriageway is a hotspot for vehicle accidents. 

Between 2012 and 2014 there was a spine-chilling total of 22 serious accidents. Motorists are encouraged to slow down when winding through residential villages on the route. 

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