Welsh town wins title for world’s steepest street

A street in Wales has been named the steepest in the world following a campaign by locals.

Ffordd Pen Llech, in the seaside town of Harlech, North Wales, has been officially recorded of being at a gradient of 37 per cent – two per cent steeper than the previous record holder in New Zealand.

On Tuesday the Guinness World Records announced the Welsh street had wrested the title away from Baldwin Street in Dunedin, a city on New Zealand’s South Island, which has a gradient of 35% and has attracted tourists from all around the world.

Local businesses have been trading on the title for the past two years since gaining the record, and the 350-metre-long street has found fame on social media.

New Zealand travel stock
A general view of Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand

But locals in Harlech, led by entrepreneur and architectural historian Gwyn Headley, claimed Fford Pen Llech was even steeper, leading to an inspection by an independent surveyor on June 6 who verified the gradient.

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Mr Headley, who first wondered if the street was the steepest after his car slid down it while the handbrake was fully locked, said he felt “utter relief” and “jubilation” following the announcement.

He said: “I feel sorry for Baldwin Street and the New Zealanders, but steeper is steeper.

“At least they have the Rugby World Cup … for the moment …”

The street runs past the medieval Harlech Castle, a Unesco World Heritage site, and is lined with houses, a shop, a caravan park, a laundry service, and a restaurant.

Glyn Roberts, who owns the Castle Cottage Restaurant, said: “We didn’t realise it was the steepest street in the world, but it is very steep and it’s a good heart-starter walking up and down the hill.

“It’s a lovely part of the world and to have this extra accolade can do nothing but good for the town and bring more people in.”

For a street to qualify for the title of the world’s steepest it must be a public thoroughfare, fully paved and contain buildings running alongside it.

The record measurement is based on the highest gradient over a 10m section of road.

Craig Glenday, Guinness World Records editor in chief said: “The local community in Harlech has shown sheer willpower in their quest to earn Ffordd Pen Llech the title.

“We know the anticipation has been building for quite some time now and I’m pleased to see the outcome has brought such joy to the residents.

“I hope Harlech enjoys the celebrations and that the new title brings lots of people to the beautiful town, to experience the world’s steepest street for themselves.”

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