Wales

Life on Wales' steepest streets

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Media captionLife on Wales' steepest streets

People living on a road in New Zealand's Dunedin described this week what life is like on the "steepest residential street in the world".

At its steepest, Baldwin Street has a gradient of 35%.

But people in a north Wales street claim theirs is a clear rival in the steepness stakes.

Ffordd Pen Llech, in Harlech, in the Snowdonia National Park, is so steep that vehicles have been banned from driving up some parts in a bid to avoid them getting stuck.

It is said to be the steepest, signed, public, Tarmacked road in the UK.

The road sign boasts a gradient of 40%, but this is said to have been rounded up from 36.63% to avoid confusing road users.

Mark Jones, who has a holiday home in Harlech, said most of the people living there had become very good at parking their cars.

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Media captionTourists 'get stuck' on steep Harlech street

"We get lots of bottles of wine, lots of beer, off people when they get stuck on the corners and we have to go and back them up and reverse so they can get their cars down," he said.

Jennifer Hudley, who has lived in Harlech for five years, said: "The only problem is when there's snow. You hibernate, you don't try and go up or down.

"When I first moved here it was pretty daunting, but now I just go down on my brakes and pray nothing is coming up - which it shouldn't be.

"The views are incredible."

Image caption Jennifer Hudley said the views from the top are incredible

Gavin Brick and Chris Wilderspin moved to Harlech from London three years ago to "get away from the craziness" and enjoy a "slower pace of life".

Mr Brick said: "I walk from the railway station up this hill several times a week with my rucksack and carrier bags of shopping and you just get used to it.

"It's just a little harder in the winter when there are leaves or ice."

He said he believed it was the steepest residential street in the world.

"I have researched it. It is certainly a bit more dynamic and has more twists and turns than the road in Dunedin."

Image caption Chris Wilderspin and Gavin Brick said the steep road is something to get used to

Mr Wilderspin added: "I think people around here, particularly cyclists, look to prove how tough they are and how they can do all the hills. That's why they come to Snowdonia really.

"This one's a particularly tough one."

But it is far from being the only Welsh street to test the heart and lungs of visitors.

One road in Prestatyn, Denbighshire claims a 33% gradient.

Hillside runs from Prestatyn to the nearby village of Gwaenysgor and is a challenge for any cyclist.

Meanwhile Cefn Llan, in Aberystwyth, the road that leads up to the university from Llanbadarn has a gradient of 25%.

This makes it a suitable setting for the Aberystwyth Cycle Festival hill climb challenge.

And it also keeps pupils at Penglais School fit, as many of them have to climb up it to get to lessons.

In Swansea, Constitution Hill, which features in the 1990s film Twin Town, has a gradient of 20%.

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Media captionTimelapse: Swansea's Constitution Hill has 20% gradient

Postman Mike Neil said: "I come down every day, bar Sunday, but I rarely go up.

"I've seen a lot of people jogging up the hill, roller skaters skating down the hill. It's a well-used hill for keeping fit, but I don't fancy going up - not every day."

Image caption Your steep streets: (clockwise) Trinity Street, Barry, courtesy of Sue Gersh; Stow Hill, Treforest, by Jason Crimmins; and School Terrace, Blaengarw, via @rapsiencyn on Twitter

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