World's steepest street: Harlech loses title to New Zealand

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Baldwin StreetImage source, Hamish McNeilly/Stuff
Image caption,
Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, has snatched back its title from its rival in Wales

A Welsh street declared as the steepest on the planet has lost its title to a New Zealand rival following a rethink by Guinness World Records.

Ffordd Pen Llech in the medieval castle town of Harlech in Gwynedd boasted a gradient of 37.45%.

But after a plea from Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand, the criteria for the record has been changed.

Measurements now follow a road's centre line - and the Harlech street has been downgraded to a gradient of just 28.6%.

It means Baldwin Street - with a gradient of 34.8% - snatches back the title it held previously for a decade, until the challenge by residents in Harlech.

Media caption,

Steep - but no longer steepest - Ffordd Pen Llech's earlier bid to be recognised as a record breaker

Guinness World Records said the decision followed an "extensive review" after an appeal on behalf of Baldwin Street.

"The findings revealed that in order to fairly assess the different shape of the streets, whether they're straight or curved, steepness must be measured by the central axis - the centre line of the road," said officials.

The records body said it had formally changed its criteria for any future challenges for the title.

"We're very grateful to the Baldwin Street appeals team, led by surveyor Toby Stoff, for making us aware of a rare gap in our stipulations and we're pleased to see the title return to New Zealand," said Guinness World Records editor-in-chief Craig Glenday.

"We're also very grateful to the Ffordd Pen Llech team for their application and good humour throughout this process."

Image source, Guinness World Records
Image caption,
Harlech residents Gwyn Headley and Sarah Badhan celebrated winning the title in 2019 - but it no longer stands

Mr Stoff welcomed the decision, saying: "It is important to know that Guinness World Records treats matters like this in a robust and professional manner."

"There was no bad feeling toward the people of Harlech. I had the great joy of visiting last November. It is a wonderful heritage town full of friendly people."

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