- Snake Pass
The Snake Pass is the name given to the higher reaches of the
A57 roadwhere it crosses the Peak Districtbetween Manchesterand Sheffieldin the north of England.
More specifically, the name usually refers to the section between the town of
Glossopand the Ladybowerreservoir, where the road passes over the high ground between the moorland plateaux of Kinder Scoutand Bleaklow(the highest point is convert|521|m|ft above sea level). This section is exceptionally scenic—the view at the start of the descent into Glossop is quite remarkable, on a clear day offering beautiful views over the city of Manchester (over 10 miles away) and beyond.
The road was first built as a
toll roadin 1820 as the most direct route between the two cities. In the 20th century the more northerly route of the Woodhead Pass, which is less steep and at a lower altitude, became the primary road link between Manchester and Sheffield.
The Snake Pass passes through the National Trust's
High Peak Estate, and lies within the High Peakborough of Derbyshire. Much of it falls within the Hope Woodlandsparish.
The road has a poor accident record. [ [http://peakresources.gemini.titaninternet.co.uk/ctte/planning/reports/2006/061117Item6-5.pdf Full Application - Installation of 6.4m Pole-Mounted Antenna] - application to install police radio mast 800m west of Snake Pass summit ] In winter, the road is often the first of the available routes between Sheffield and Manchester to be closed when bad weather affects the area. There are areas where the road surface has very poor skid resistance and a number of bends have adverse camber.
On January 25, 2008, a landslip due to heavy rain caused the road to be closed to all traffic between Ladybower and Glossop, although access was still available to local premises and businesses including the Snake Pass Inn. [ [http://www.childcare-derbyshire.org.uk/news_events/news/2008/january/snake_pass_closed.asp Derbyshire County Council - Snake Pass closed ] ] As of March 11, 2008, the road has been opened again, but with temporary traffic lights at the point of the slip restricting traffic to one direction at a time and it is expected that repairs will not be completed until August 2008.
Origins of the name
The name of the road does match its winding route, but actually derives from the emblem of the Snake Inn, one of the few buildings on the high stretch of road. In turn, the pub's name and sign was derived from the serpent on the Cavendish arms of the
Duke of Devonshire. In recent times, the Snake Inn was renamed the "Snake Pass Inn", so the Inn is now named after the road, and not the other way round, as was originally the case.
Snake Pass is one of only a few road climbs in the UK that are comparable in length and average gradient (approximately 7% for around convert|3.2|mi|km when starting in
Glossop) to those used in continental cycle racing. For this reason it has frequently featured in the Tour of Britainalong with another nearby favourite Holme Moss. Cycling Time Trialssanctioned hill climbs are regularly promoted on this course by local club Glossop Kinder Velo. The course record currently stands at just over 13 minutes.
* [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-global/w-localtoyou/w-east_midlands/w-east_midlands-places-peakdistrict/w-east_midlands-places-peakdistrict-seeanddo/w-east_midlands-places-snakepass.htm National Trust description of the area]
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