Porlock Toll Road Climb
Porlock Toll Road
This unique, alpine-style, 4.2-mile scenic climb starts in the heart of Porlock and heads west of the village, towards the Devon border. The road twists through idyllic woodland and includes a couple of switchbacks, eventually re-joining the main road at the top, on the moor.
Porlock Toll Road is privately owned by Porlock Manor Estate, hence a toll is payable for using it. It dates back to the 1840s, and was originally built to offer an alternative to the infamously steep Porlock Hill, which is the steepest A-road in the UK. The toll is payable at the Toll House, which is approximately half-way up the hill, usually there is someone there to collect your fee, but if not, there's an honesty box to deposit it. The toll is payable per day, (not per passing of the Toll Gate) on the first time passing through, and currently costs £1 for cyclists.
From the bottom, the houses of Porlock are soon left behind as the road enters the woods, offering glimpses through the trees to Porlock Bay. There are a few well-placed benches along the way, offering an ideal spot to take in the vista. The gradient of the climb remains fairly consistent throughout, never exceeding more than 1 in 14.
Past the Toll House, the trees thin and after the cattle grid the road passes onto the moor, which is much more open and where you're likely to feel the wind in your face! It's definitely worth it though, for the views.
The road is often very quiet, but please remember there may be other road users around the next corner, and you may well see Exmoor Ponies or sheep on the moorland part of the climb.
The road reaches the summit and re-joins the A39 by the AA Box at Pittcombe Head, turn right here towards Lymouth and Lynton.
Porlock Toll Road is open all year round, apart from a couple of closed roads events, which often take place around the same time each year. The Somerset Stages Car Rally usually use it as a race stage each spring, and the Minehead Cycling Club usually run their Porlock Hill Climb event in September. There would be signage at the bottom and top of the road, if the road is closed for any reason.
The whole Toll Road segment is aptly named "Porlock Toll Road". There are multiple shorter segments too.
The segment starts a few metres from junction at the bottom, and continues right to the junction at the top - be sure to give way at the top!