pork hill mainPork Hill is the first of two big ascents which make up the Rundlestone climb, #11 in Simon Warren’s Greatest Cycling Climbs and regularly featured on the Devon stage of the Tour of Britain.
On the main road between Tavistock and Princetown, it is a tough climb in its own right with double figure gradients in parts. At the time of writing, 4,302 people have made 12,209 Strava recorded ascents of Pork Hill, including a number of pros in the 2012 Tour of Britain.
My review splits the climb into the three segments I created on Strava. The Belly is the easier start which gives way to the Trotter, the stiffest part of the hill and then the Scratching, the last kilometre, which alternates between steep and very steep!
porkhill1Grid Ref:
SX 51340 74582
Length:
2km
Ascent:
151m / 495ft
Gradient:
7.5%
Nearby Climbs:
Batteridge Hill, Merrivale to Rundlestone
Nearest Cake:
Fox Tor Café, Princetown
Strava
strava

Here is OnTor’s review of the climb:

The Approach
tavistock-approachAssuming that you approach Pork Hill from Tavistock, which most do, you will have gained 90m over about 3kms (average 3%) which is already a bit of a slog. Plan the weather correctly and you should benefit from a westerly tail wind as you are heading almost due east and will do for most of the climb. At some point before the start of the climb, you will enter the Dartmoor National Park so prepare for any spare breath left to be taken by the scenery but also look out for the Dartmoor ponies and sheep which roam freely across the moor (and frequently the road!).
The Belly
pork hill bellyThe first section is the shallowest and, if wind assisted, provides an opportunity for a slingshot onto the steepest part. The Strava segment starts about 2.7km after leaving Tavistock at a crossroads (pictured) – its the first road from the left after leaving Tavistock and you will be on a fast flat bit of road having just passed the Dartmoor National Park signs. Once you start the segment you have half a kilometre at 3%, which if you take at a good speed, sets you up nicely for the toughest part of the climb.porkhill2strava
The Trotter
pork hill trotterJust after passing the campsite on your right, you hit the steepest part of the climb – 400m almost consistently at 9-10% until you reach a brow where it ramps up into double figures for the last few metres. Ever the optimist, I usually attack the bottom of the slope 2 or 3 gears up from my lowest but am invariably grabbing at the downshift within seconds!porkhill3strava
The Scratching
pork hill scratchingHaving topped the brow, the road bends ever so slightly to the left. You now have a kilometre to go and whilst the steepest part of the climb is behind you, it does not dip below 7% in the final stretch, though the gradient alternates across this final segment. The climb is made no easier by your fellow cyclists on the opposite side of the road whizzing past at speeds of up to 60mph! About 400m from the top you leave behind fields and come out onto the open moorland. To your left is Cox Tor and to your right, on a good day, you can see the Tamar Bridge and Plymouth Sound beyond. Look up and the cattle-grid ahead denotes the final 200m. Following this is one last spike in gradient before you top out with Cox Tor car park to your right. If you have any energy left, drop down the gears, accelerate and ensure that you clear the car park entrance by a good 10m before stopping in order to complete the segment.porkhill4strava
The Warm Down
pork-hill-warm-downYou now are on Dartmoor proper and have a lovely fast flat for about a kilometre before dropping steeply down to Merrivale and the almost as daunting second part of the Rundlestone climb.

Alternatively, stop and rest here with a Willy’s Ice Cream from the van which is usually parked in Cox Tor car park. The views from here back to Tavistock and south to Plymouth are worth the break!