Altitude 108m a.s.l
Climbers on the Longstone Pinnacle, Symonds Yat © JHC
A characterful and adventurous crag with a bit of a misinformed negative reputation. Very good steep and juggy limestone which is often much better than it first appears, mainly sound but with occasional looseness in places, so always take care. One of the major climbable areas in the Wye Valley, in an idyllic setting, a great variety in rock features, including a pinnacle and caves, a good spread of routes across the grade range and the bonus of parking and a tea shack at the top!! Some real classic routes and always a quiet esoteric corner to explore. Mainly single-pitch routes 10m up to 30 metres plus some longer two pitch routes spread around the place. Protection tends to be solid but can be spaced with sometimes bold starts. SY has had a reputation for sandbag grades, but this is now a thing of the past (See current 2010 CC guide). Because of the tree cover and steepness of the rock, most of the crag remains dry after long spells of rain in the Summer, although the paths below become extremely muddy under foot.
A recent overhaul and reappraisal has been carried out for the excellent new Climber's Club definitive guide (2010)
To reach SY from Bristol, cross the old Severn Bridge, pass Chepstow on the A48 and take the B4228 through Tutshill and Woodcroft along the top of Wintour's Leap. Continue for 10 miles to Coleford from where SY should be signposted -- watch out for the turning right a short way up the hill that leaves the town, carry on straight
across the Pike House crossroads. In less than a mile, almost opposite the church of Christchurch, there is a small crossroads and then immediately an oblique fork to the left; take this (B4432). After about a mile, after The Rock Inn on your right, there is a well-signed entrance to the main car-parking area to the left (Pay and Display). Note that this car park closes at dusk, so late finishers should seek out alternative parking arrangements just a little bit further up the road on the right.
Access to SY have been painstakingly and patiently negotiated. Note that the areas known as 'Yat Rock' and 'Coldwell Rocks' are now out of bounds for climbers. In previous guides these areas have come under the collective name of 'The Western Cliffs'. Also out of bounds are 'The Seven Sisters' (sometimes called Symmonds Yat West), and in fact all the other outlying limestone crags. This is due to the prescence of rare flora and fauna. Please do consult the guide for the specifics of SY access.