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Mention the Battle of Edgehill to (nearly) everyone in Warwickshire and they might tell you the story behind the mighty battle that took place in 1642, between the Royalist Army and the Parliamentarians during the First British Civil War.

At the top of Edgehill, the ground drops steeply, levels out, then rises to Battleton Holt and a little beyond it are the Oaks and Graveground Copice. It was across the latter two that Parliament’s army was drawn up. The King’s forces descended from the escarpment and faced them, extended between the end of the spur at Knowle End and Brixfield Farm. The King’s army had to descend from the edge of the escarpment if they wished to engage the Parliamentarians in battle, because the escarpment was far too steep for Essex to consider an attack against the Royalist army while it was on the edge. At the time of the battle, there were far fewer trees than what grows there today.

The battle was inconclusive, with both sides claiming victory. It would take several more years and many more battles before the Parliamentarians won the war.

If you are a cyclist in Warwickshire, Edgehill is a battle of its own, with riders always disputing  which side is hardest to climb. Is it Edgehill itself, or Sunrising Hill on the other side?

Like the actual battle that actually took place here, the riders’ battle always proves inconclusive. You are either suited to long steady climbs, or climbs with a steep, sharp hairpin….

Edgehill
Length: 1.0 km
Average gradient: 10.8 per cent
Max Gradient: 16%

Edgehill is a brute. Its short, although it might not feel like it, and extremely sharp, it is the sort of climb that has you out of the saddle almost immediately, heaving at the handlebars and gasping for breath right from the start. There’s no secret of how to tackle it, you just need to take on the steady gradient of 11 per cent for half a mile on roads that are a long way from smooth.

Strava KoM: 2:39
Strava QoM: 3:01

Sunrising Hill
Length: 1.2km
Average Gradient:  8.6%
Max Gradient: 27%

Same height gain as the Edge Hill climb but a totally different character, with a max gradient of 27% and a rough road surface make that makes  for an attritional climb with an alpine style switch-back at half-way. I’ve raced up this climb in local races, and its quite common to hear shouts of ‘that’s not a climb! It’s a wall!’

Strava KoM: 2:44
Strava QoM: 4:15