Ham Hill Quarry

Climbs 40 – Rocktype Limestone – Altitude ? – Faces S

Crag features
Sandstone quarry with a number of clean faces up to around 20 metres high. About a dozen obvious lines and various eliminates exist with the best lines around English 5a to 5b. As with Southern Sandstone the prevailing ethic has been top-roping or soloing due to the nature of the rock (the rock is quite soft for usual climbing standards) and some of the top-outs. Therefore no leading must take place on the rock, your gear probably won't hold in any case. Ham Hill Quarry is a bolt free zone.

Belays can generally be arranged on substantial trees set back at the top of the faces for which a spare rope for use as an anchor line is essential. There is an almost certain risk of rockfall from above Ivy Buttress while setting a top belay and extreme care should be exercised by all users of the quarry at such a time. Even during climbing, belayers should stand well back; this situation alone recommends the use of helmets. It is recommended that belayers should tie onto some form of anchor, otherwise being dragged into the stinging nettles is a distinct possibility. A strategically placed boulder on the quarry floor is useful for this purpose and can be used for all routes on Main Wall, Ivy Wall and most of Impending Wall. For other areas twigs and small trees have to suffice.

There are also a few easy obvious boulder problems around the base of the quarry.

The rock around the quarry is called Ham Stone, a shelly limestone.

Access notes
Situated in Ham Hill Country Park with nearby parking and good access.

Access is via a sunken track from the northwest. Being surrounded by trees and below the level of the road its existence is not immediately apparent to the casual visitor. However, since being made a feature on one of the official trails around Ham Hill the entrance is nowadays much more obvious and displays a sign warning of steep quarry faces. Once upon a time it was possible to confuse it with a smaller adjacent

quarry on the north side. This has now been wired off for safety reasons and confusion should no longer be possible.

On entering the quarry the first clean buttress visible high on the left is ‘Cave Buttress’, then ‘Overhang Buttress’. To the right and above the lowest point in the quarry is the smooth face of ‘Main Wall’, divided from Overhang Buttress by a deep chimney and bounded at its right hand end by ‘Ivy Buttress’ (no longer worthy of its name!). To the right of the arête of Ivy Buttress is ‘Impending Wall’. At the far right end of the quarry is the rather mossy, secluded ‘Back Wall’ useful for traversing.

Both Overhang Buttress and Main Wall have a narrow top ridge which drops down on the other side to the adjacent northern quarry, The top of Overhang Buttress is reached by a rock step and short scramble up its left hand flank onto the ridge. Negotiating this ridge requires considerable care. A leap across a 3ft gap the top of the chimney gains the top of Main Wall. From here a path leads he top of Ivy Buttress and Impending Wall.

Guidebooks
Avon and Cheddar (2004), Avon and Cheddar (1992)

Climbs at this crag

Sort climbs
  Climb nameGrade
 CAVE BUTTRESS 
 OVERHANG BUTTRESS 
3Quirknone 5b
4Crackersnone 5c
5Headcasenone 5c *
6Original Routenone 5b
7Rusty Nailnone 5b *
8Perversionnone 5c
9The Gruntnone 5b *
10The Nose Traversenone 4c *
11Right Edgenone 4c
12The Dream Machinenone 6a
13The Nose Directnone 5c *
 MAIN WALL 
15The ChimneyVD
16Left Edgenone 5a
17Digit Dexteritynone 5b *
18Left Wallnone 5a *
19Wobbly Block Lostnone 5b
20Traditional Climbnone 4c *
21The Reachnone 5b *
22Shortienone 5a
23Not the Cornernone 4c
24The Cornernone 4b
 IVY BUTTRESS 
26Innominate Cracknone 5a
27Via Medianone 5b *
28The Aretenone 5a *
29Chipped Wallnone 6a
 IMPENDING WALL 
31Right Aretenone 5a
32Gaza Stripnone 5b *
33Early Risernone 5b *
34Stairway Superdirectnone 5c
35Leap of Faith 1none 6a
36The Stairwaynone 5a **
37Leap of Faith 2none 6b *
38Too Hard for Mattnone 6a
39Too hard for M and Gnone 6c *
 THE BACK WALL 
41Green Wallnone 5a
42The Groovenone 4b
43Right Wallnone 4b
44The Traversenone 4c/6b
45Far Right ChimneyHVD
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Hi folks. There's been some aggressive gardening and rock removal in upper reaches of the ivy covered chimney which is to the right of the obvious corner. Please note that this area is a bat roost and should not be disturbed. Only the lower (already well cleaned) section of the chimney should be climbed, as access to the adjacent routes. The corner itself should only be climbed to 2/3 height then break out left (grade 4b). Please note the following: All the quarrying exposures used by climbers fall within the boundary of the 200 acre Scheduled Ancient Monument (i.e. Ham Hill). This designation protects the heritage land surface of the Iron Age hill fort and also the earthworks of other later occupations. Use of metal detectors is strictly prohibited under law, as is digging or excavations of any sort. Action will be taken against any party found to be defacing the S.A.M. In addition to the S.A.M. Deep Quarry ( this is where the climbs are) is designated a Geological Site of Special Scientific Interest (S.S.S.I.) Thanks Gerry
Gerry - 25/Jun/14
Toarcian Age A brown, shelly, bioclastic limestone, parallel- bedded and cross-bedded, interpreted to have been deposited in a shallow marine tidal channel. The base displays a change upward from sands or sandstones of undivided Bridport Sand Formation into bioclastic limestone. The top is generally a non-sequence displaying a sharp change upward from bioclastic limestone to cream or grey shelly or ooidal limestone or calcareous mudstone of the Inferior Oolite, elsewhere it may be conformable, displaying a change up into sandy mudstone of undivided Bridport Sand Formation.
The Pylon King - 28/May/14
Whats this sight like for small groups?
TheAloft - 15/Jul/13
Regarding leading at this crag, please see http://www.southsomersetcountryside.com/ham-hill-country-park/recreation-and-leisure-activities/rock-climbing.aspx
Seraphic8x - 17/Jun/12
WTF is this "no leading ethic" bollox?? This isn't decaying barely consolidated and hugely over-used sand like Harrisons. It's just a normal quarry and a wee bit fragile. Place gear with care and use a hanging rope to avoid the top-outs if needed. See the 1992 Cheddar guide for proper details. Anyway it's got me inspired to get fit and go back to lead The Saline Solution at some point.
Fiend - 07/Sep/09
...Ham stone being a type of Limestone
otziiceman - 28/Aug/07
Its not Sandstone, its Ham stone. two reliable geologists have confirmed this...
otziiceman - 28/Aug/07
Ways to reach the top to secure a toprope: 1)Climb up from the bottom then jump the gap 2)Walk out of the quarry, take the first right, then right again. Then jump over the fence into the top of the quarry 3)Walk along the road from the carpark away from the town. walk 20m along a path, then jump of the fence mentioned above.
otziiceman - 13/Jul/07
I would also back up the top roping ethics suggested, the same as the soft southern sandstone. Keep the rock the way it was ment to be. Leading could destroy it for future climbers, and always use a rope sleave at the top of the crag to protect the rock from erosion by your top rope.
boulderingmonkey - 20/Jun/07
sorry fiend but there is a no leading ethic here. feel free to solo to your hearts content though :)
remtherockclimber - 08/Jun/07
Don't anybody think these routes are new. They date back to the mid 1980s. You got the names wrong too.
Gerry - 04/Sep/06
...and some good leading too...
Fiend - 31/Jan/06
Just to say there is easy top-roping here as well
Paul Joyce - 29/Jun/05
Do you have more up to date information?

These details were last updated on 02/Dec/2014
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