Climbs 60
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 63m a.s.l
Faces N

Climbing the 'great cleft' © simon wooster

Crag features

A quarried limestone crag with plenty of interesting mid-grade routes up to 30m.

A mixture of sport, mixed and trad. climbs exist within the first four (eastern) sectors.  The Garden Wall and Western Wall are occupied by a set of interesting traditional climbs.

The crag is generally north facing and with some patchy tree cover, so a couple of days of dry weather are generally needed to provide optimum climbing conditions, in particular to dry up the base area of the crag (it is often worth carrying a bit of carpet).

In summer, the east end of the Garden Wall is bathed in sunshine from mid. afternoon onwards; this is the premium climbing location on the North Face. The trio of routes (Plexus, Nexus and Nimrod) featured in the latest S W Climbs edition are within this sector.

The crag was used by an outdoor activity centre throughout the 2000s and this resulted in the addition of many bolts (mostly staples) in the four eastern sectors. Some retrobolting of older trad. routes took place.  A bolted 'Via Ferrata' was also established on the Western Wall.  The outdoor centre moved away in 2010.

Where a climb in one of the four eastern sectors is given a French (sport) grade, it may be presumed that it can be led with quickdraws only.  However, in each case, the notes on the particular climb should be read for any additional details.   

Some chopped staples may be enountered on certain trad. routes, the result of a dispute in 2010.  These will have been seriously weakened by the damage and should not be used as runners.  More generally, climbers should inspect the conditions of any fixed gear carefully and should exercise judgement on reliability.     

Some climbs are lost to vegetation and these are noted as such. The area is a SSSI and a number of 'no star' climbs may not now be restored, as an ecological offset to the maintenance of the more worthwhile routes in climbable condition.

The amount of detail on each route on the associated UKC page is dependent on whether or not the last definitive guide (1995) provides adequate coverage (anyone without the 1995 guide is welcome to contact the moderator for full route descriptions).

Approach notes

The North Face is within The Rock Gardens, the grounds of a private house. The land is under the long term ownership of the Boulton family, who remain very supportive of climbing.  They have three conditions for visiting climbers:

1.  You must let them know that you are coming to climb; call 01626 852134 and ask for John Boulton.  Aim to call well in advance as there is no voicemail.   

2.  You must have third party liability insurance, such as that offered with BMC membership; and

3.  You should normally park on Rock Lane and walk in from there, see below.

Climbers are fortunate to have access to this private land and must be courteous in all dealings with the Boultons.  The gardens are also used by campers and are open to the public; the safety of these third parties is very important and the removal of any loose rock must be very carefully managed. Above all, climbers must not jeopardise the access agreement with any sort of antisocial behaviour.

Approach:

Either: 1. Park on Rock Lane and walk in from there, following the same path as for the South Face climbing area. Using this approach, turn right through a gate at the point where the stone circle comes into view, then go leftwards down a set of steps towards the crags. The small crag near the stone circle is the Far Eastern Buttress.

Or: 2. With the prior agreement of the Boultons you may be able to park at Rock House or in the old nursery car park.  From the parking area by the house, the Garden Wall and Western Wall are down a path behind the house. The four eastern area sectors are up a track on the left; turn right and cross the small camping ground.

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Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
 Far Eastern Buttress 
2Route 14a 26
3Route 25c 16
4Route 3 (the prow)6a+ 26
5Route 44a 22
6Route 5 (the arete)3+ 15
 Highway 65 Area 
8Valkyrie RibVD 5
9Devon expresswayVS 4a/b? 7
10TristanVS 4b  
11M5HVS 4c 5
12Highway 654c *28
13Central ReservationHVS 5b  
14Route 66S 14
15Ivy LeagueD 22
16Ancient MarinerE1 5a *3
 Tropics Area 
18Gemini 11S 4a 14
19Gemini 1HS 4a *17
20Gemini IIIHVS 4c  
21Tropic of CapricornVS 4b **28
22Black Spring6b+ *5
23Tropic of CancerHVS 4c *16
 The Notch Area 
25Benn GunnS 4b *29
26Long JohnHVS 4c 3
27Singapore5c *22
28The NotchVS 4c 19
29Gun Street GirlE3 5c  
30Two Stroke BananaHVS 4c 2
31Little Subtleties (LH Start)4c *4
 The Garden Wall 
33SexusHS 4b *8
34Garden Wall EliminateVS 4c 3
35PlexusMVS 4b *26
36PrometheusHVS 4c *4
37NemesisE1 5b *6
38NexusS 4a ***53
39DianaVS 4c  
40ThornifixionHVS 5a *9
41NimrodE1 5a **14
42Grey Wall Eliminate
-
HVS 4b, 4c 1
43ScorpionHVS 4c  
44Orion
-
HVS 5a  
45The DialHS 4b 2
46Cygnus
-
VS 4c  
47AndromedaHVS 5a 3
48PerseusHVS 5b *3
49Perseus DirectE1 5b  
50PersesHVS 5a * 
51ColossusVS 4b *6
52The TrackHVS  
53Caveman RockHS 4a 1
54HanselHS 4a *2
55GretelHS 4a  
56YggdraselHVS 5a 1
 Western Wall 
58East Gully WallVS 4b  
59BoleroHVS 4c *1
60Alpha OneE2 5b  
61SeguidillaVS 5a  
62Sickle
-
HS 4a  
63Hammer
-
VS 4b 2
64Magic FluteHVS 5a *1
65Rock House CornerHVD  

Moderator Updates to this page are checked by UKC volunteer simon wooster