Climbs 303
Rocktype Gritstone
Altitude 300m a.s.l
Faces SW

"Pensioner's at play" he said © Joshua Willett

Crag features

Birchen remains one of the most popular venues in the Peak due to its friendly atmosphere and good collection of low-grade routes. The place has always been a favourite with groups and this long-standing popularity has led to the wearing of many of the already rounded holds. Quite a number of the routes have slippery and awkward starts but get yourself going and things often ease rapidly with height. Summer weekends can be extremely busy, but if you leave the main section and head rightwards to the more secluded buttresses, you will probably find a bit of solitude. The majority of routes at Birchen have names of a nautical nature linked to the monument on the cliff top, erected to celebrate Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar back in 1805.

Approach notes

The usual approach is from the National Trust car park by the Robin Hood Inn. Walk up the road to a stile on the left and a sandy track that leads to the rocks in 10mins.

It is also possible to approach from the Gardom's parking spot.

Rockfax App

Available in the Rockfax App

The Rockfax App brings together all the Rockfax climbing information with UKC logbooks and presents it into a user-friendly package for use on Apple iOS devices (Android version to follow).


Eastern Grit

Updated and expanded edition of the award-winning Peak Grit East. Covers all the best routes on the eastern Gritstone edges of the Peak District - Wharncliffe, Rivelin, Dovestone Tor, Bamford, Stanage, Burbage North, Higgar Tor, Burbage South, Millstone, Lawrencefield, Yarncliffe, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Gardoms, Birchen, Chatsworth, Cratcliffe, Black Rocks
More info

Peak Bouldering

The Peak Bouldering Rockfax is a massive book covering a huge area including all the main bouldering venues of the Peak District. It includes many more low-grade problems than have ever been documented before including 17 circuits with problems at V0+ 5a and under, and a further 21 circuits with problems at V2 5c and below.
More info
my favourite crag.
Stanners - 11/Sep/15
There is a pay car park and a field across the road. pick which you prefer. wet days I'd say the £4 will be worth it.
Lukem6 - 27/Oct/13
Surprised yesterday to have to pay for the Car Park. £2.50 up to 4 hours, £4 all day. Free to NT or RSPB members.
D Berry - 27/Oct/13
The is a problem on the back of the royal sovereign boulder that starts lying down under the overhang pulls through to a slot from slopers on the lip of the overhang and then on to the top with a tiny mono on the top. Does anyone no the name or grade? Thanks
ceturnock - 09/Sep/13
There's a large block halfway up Gun-cotton Groove (VD) on Kismet Buttress which is quite loose. Avoiding using this probably puts it up a grade. Perhaps no longer a "good beginners' climb".
Howard J - 04/Aug/10
Just a quick update... Took a youth group from my Church there this weekend and had a fantastic time. We climbed to the right of the monument, using "On Peak Rock" as a guide. First of all, there's about 500m of delicious rock to the right of the monument, which are not covered by the guidebook :( We camped at the Eric Byne memorial site by the Robin Hood Inn. It's run by the really old couple again, after being run by the Peak authority for a while. It's £2.50 pppn, with toilets and fresh water. They now have a bin area which is new since I was last there (2003). Still no campfires, but where can you these days :( Still a superb crag, unbeatable for groups, families, beginners and first-time outdoor lead climbers.
rich in wales - 20/Oct/07
Victory Vice the V Diff on the Kismet Buttress has got bats living in it just a warning!!!
David Hollyer - 30/May/06
I love this crag - Gives us VS climbers the chance for great low grade soloing. Lots of lovely classically grit moves on a small scale.
Reds - 08/Mar/04
Don\'t miss the great bouldering opportunities to be had on the three large boulders on top of the crag. Each boulder has its name carved into the rock and is named after the Flagships of Nelson\'s fleet at the battle of Trafalgar.
Michael Hunt - 20/Jan/02
Login as Existing User to add your comments

Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
 Far Left 
2PortsideHS 4b 15
3The BrinyE1 5b 4
4StarboardsideHS 4b 16
 Bosun's Wall 
6Bosun's NoseS 4c 149
7Bosun's CrackVD 261
8Bosun's WallHVD 4a 214
 Poop Deck 
10The GangplankM *838
11Poop Crackf3 68
12Handy CrackD 577
13Handy WallV0- *35
14Visitors OnlyHS 4a *453
15Visitors WallV1 16
16All AboardD 443
17Saltheart FoamfollowerHVS 5c *77
18Howships Lacunae
V5 *6
V1 *3
20Poop Deck CrackS 4a 311
21The PirateE2 6b 3
22Master and CommanderV5 *1
 Emma's Slab 
24Disabled Seaman
V3 *34
25Cabin Boy
V6 **64
26Cabin Boy Variationf6C *7
27The Cabin
V3 **72
V2 *35
29Sling Your Hammock
V1 **26
30Dan's ArÍtef6C *20
31Crow's Feetf5+ *12
32Land Ho!HS 4c *167
33The Crow's NestVS 4c **880
34Scrim Netf6A *114
35Lookout ArÍteS 4a *219
36The FunnelD *509
37Kiss Me HardyHVD 4a *564
38The DancerE1 5c 13
39Kiss Me Arse
f6A *46
40Kiss Me Arse (Sit-Start)f6C *37
41Monocled Monof6C 20
42Kiss Me Softyf6B *35
43Victory CrackHS 4b *657
44Victory GullyS 4a *295
45Emma's SlabVS 4b *520
46Roger the Cabin Boyf6C *2
47Technical Geniusf7A *22
48Technical Genius (Sit-Start)
f7A+ **6
49Technical Genius ArÍteV4 *16
50Emma's DilemmaS 4a *1296
51Emma RoydVS 4c *344
52Emma's TemptationHVD 4c *1122
53Emma's DelightHS 4b *736
54DeludedVS 4c *258
55Emma's DelusionS 4a *456
56The ProwVS 4c *706
57ArtificialVD 59
58Oak GullyM 54
59Oak Tower
VD 52
60Heather Corner
D 36
61Heather Corner SlabM 35
 Nelson's Slab 
63The Rigging
D 50
64The Bunk LadderS 4a 30
65Captain's PrerogativeHS 4b *801
66Captain's BunkHS 4b *727
67Telescope TunnelM **466
68Captain's Crawl
M 139
69Porthole ButtressS 4a *296
70Porthole DirectVS 4c **1077
71Victor HugoE4 6b *1
72Captain BirdseyeVS 4c 151
73Blind EyeS 4b *229
74The Proprioceptive Octetnone 20
75Admiral's Flushed HeadD 10
76Dead EyeHVS 6a 30
77Iron EyeV7 3
78Nelson's Slab Directf6A *11
79Nelson's SlabHS 5a *680
80Half NelsonVS 5a *261
81Left Ladder ChimneyVD 172
82SplicedS 4a 14
83Right Ladder ChimneyHVD 4a 133
 Sail Buttress 
85Midshipman / Plain SailingE2 6a ***94
HVS 5a 20
87Cold CompassE2 6b *1
88The KrakenE6 6c ***2
89Sail ButtressHS 4b **1691
90Roger the Cabin BoyVS 4c *110
91RatlineHVS 5b **471
92Amazing GraceE2 6a 4
93Sail ChimneyS 4a **993
94TopsailVS 4c **2361
95Marie's Gone to CanadaE1 5c 1
96SpinnakerVS 5a 21
97Monument Chimney CrackVD *413
98Monument ChimneyD *634
 Orpheus Wall 
100Pillar WallS 4a 150
101The BowS 4a *237
102BuggerV1 16
103Orpheus WallHVS 5c **496
104UnderworldV2 16
105PeachesE4 6b ***25
106Peaches StartV3 15
107CreamV5 5
108PixieV1 5
109Pixie (Sit-Start)V5 3
110Orgasmic Variations in a Broom Cupboard
E1 5c  
E1 5b  
112Monument GullyVD *255
113Book SnifferE6 6b 1
114Monument Gully ButtressHVS 5b *313
115The KeelHVS 5b *129
116Naughty NauticalsE2 6b 11
117The BoomHVS 5a *2
 The Three Ships 
V1 128
V0 *147
122The Victory Traverse
VB *80
V0 *186
124V for Victory
V0- *245
125Prow Left
V0 *232
126Prow Right
V0+ *231
127Prow Right Dyno
V4 *21
128Victor's Ledge
V0 *133
V0 *198
131The Defiance Traverse
V2 **64
132St. Vincent
V0+ *206
V0+ *172
V0 *188
V0 *245
136Tenerife Right-Hand
V0+ *116
 Royal Soverin 
V0- *181
139The Royal Soverin Traverse
V1 *51
V0 *161
141Buccaneer LeftV0- 59
V0 *126
143Press Gang
V1 *82
V1 *134
145Mini RoofV2 *23
 The Promenade 
147Cutting CornersS 4a 6
148The PromenadeD **1121
149The Promenade DirectHVD 4a *768
150PromarÍtef6A *37
151The ChainS 4a *706
152Megamix Left
V7 * 
153Gritstone Megamixf7A *13
154HMS Daringf7B+ *3
155Splendide Audax
156Thing on a Springf7A *60
157Hollybush GullyVD 4b *333
158Anchor TraverseHS 4b *182
159Floating AnarchyHVS 5a 48
160Powder Monkey ParadeS 4b **1497
161Oarsman ArÍtef6B+ *7
162Oarsmanf6B+ 19
163Oarsman Sit-Start
V6 **1
164'Oar 'Ousef7A 4
165Hornblowerf6C **72
166Obstructive Pensionerf7A+ *5
167Pensioner Right-Hand
V7 * 
168Jumpers for Trousersf7C+ * 
169Eliminate Flake
V0+ *4
170HangoverHVS 5b 74
171Admiral's ProgressD *446
172Polaris ExitD *216
173The Admiral's Head
D 3b 9
 Trafalgar Wall 
175Bulbous Bowf5+ 168
176HammockVS 5b *175
177Camperdown CrawlHS 4c **1706
178Camperdown Crawl Right-Hand VariantVS 5c 39
179Barnacle BulgeHS 4c *910
180Trafalgar CrackVD 4a *2265
181Trafalgar WallS 4b **2091
182The Defiance Variation
V0 13
183Defiance Crack
VD 4a 22
184The Long PromenadeVS 4b **44
 Stoker's Wall 
186Bell Bottom ArÍteS 4a 257
187Sailor's CrackS 4b *256
188Sailor's ProblemVD 605
189Whatknot?S 4b *302
190Reef KnotS 4b *646
191SheetbendS 4b 291
192Nautical CrackVD *930
193Heave HoS 4a 314
194Yo-Ho CrackVD *1348
195Rum WallVD 706
196Rum BreakVD 108
197Stoker's BreakVD 786
198Stoker's HoleHS 4a *933
199StokedS 4a *1025
200Stoker's WallD *978
201Stoker's Wall Traverse
VD 3c 31
202Stoker's Wall Crack
M 2c 36
203Stoker's Wall FlakeV0- 30
204Chasing the DragonV9  
 Copenhagen Wall 
206Scandiwallf3+ 19
207Copenhagen Corner Left-Hand VariantVD 25
208Copenhagen Cornerf3+ 381
209Copenhagen Wall Traverse
S 4a 26
210ScandiarÍtef5+ *330
211Dane's Delightf5 *564
212Dane's Disgustf5 *335
213Carlsberg Exportf6B 19
214Mermaidf7C *3
215Copenhagen WallVS 5a *442
V8 **39
217Wonderful Copenhagenf4+ *312
218Mast Gully RidgeVD *457
219Mast GullyM 232
 The Fo'c'sle 
221Mast Gully WallVD 4b 123
222Mast Gully CrackHS 4b *197
223Mast Gully ButtressVS 5a *187
224Fo'c'sle WallVS 4c *343
225Fo'c'sle CrackS 4b *641
226Fo'c'sle ChimneyVD *256
227Fo'c'sle ArÍteVS 5b *67
228Fo'c'sle ArÍte Direct StartV1 3
229Broadsidef6A+ *26
230LowsideV5 *6
231The Brigandf7C+ *3
232The Buccaneerf7A *2
233Cave GullyVD *93
 Tar's Wall 
235Ta Very MuchHS 4c 99
236Tar's ArÍteVD 4a *375
237Ta Ta For NowHS 5a 258
238Tar's CrackVD *451
239Tar's TeeterVS 4c *12
240Tar's WallHVD 4b 619
241Sodomyf6C **23
242Tar's TraverseD 322
243Tar's ClimbM 179
244Tar's GullyD 354
245Pig HeadS 4c 246
246PigtailS 4a 291
247Wavedancef4+ 117
248Prow WallM 223
249Prow GullyM 31
250Prow Gully Prow
HD 3a 25
 Barbette Buttress 
252Barbette ArÍteS 4b 29
253Barbette CrackHS 4b *221
254Barbette WallS 4a 145
255Barbette ButtressS 4b *384
256Cannonball CrackS 3c 95
257Cannonball Wall Direct Start
VS 5a 59
258Cannonball WallVD *399
259Gunner's GangwayD 286
260Lieutenant's LadderD 165
 Seasick Slab 
262Midge's ManoeuvreE2 6a 10
263Middy's ManoeuvreHS 4c *132
264MidwayE1 6b 34
265Torpedo TubeHVD 4a *215
266FlatabackE1 6a 14
267Das BootVS 5a 22
268Gunner's GrooveD 271
269Seasick ArÍte Left-Hand Variation
V0 *17
270Seasick ArÍtef4+ *399
271Seasick Slabf3+ 551
272Seasick Stevef6A+ *7
273Sick as a Parrot
HD 4a 28
274Men UnitedV1 24
275Isle of MenV2 *19
 Wooden Leg Wall 
277Three Sheets to the Wind
HVD 4b 17
278Cabin FeverHVD 4a 86
279Wooden Leg Wall - Left CornerD 3b 23
280Spotted Dick
V3 2
281Moby DickS 4a 165
282Old CodgerVS 4c *79
283Bold CodgerE2 6a 4
284Wooden Leg WallHVS 5c *58
285Owd GadgeeE2 6a 4
286Young Gadfly
HS 4b 14
287Wooden Leg Wall - Right Corner
HD 3c 23
288Stoker's CrackS 4b 96
289Stoker's SaunterVD 115
290Knick KnackE1 5b 38
291Easy CornerM 40
292Matelot's MeanderS 4a 130
 Kismet Buttress 
294Yard Arm
V0- 33
295Implosionf5+ 37
296Explosionf4+ *181
297Blast Hole Wallf5 *125
298Cor Limey!VD 22
299Powder KegS 4a 42
V3 5
301FuseVS 5a *226
302Gun-Cotton GrooveVD *434
303Cook's RibE1 5c *135
304Horatio's DirectVS 4c *148
305Horatio's HorrorHS 4a **453
306Heavy CruiserE1 6a  
307Nelson's NemesisVS 4b ***687
308Tom's ArÍteE5 6b 1
309Victory ViceVD *131
310For Queen and CountryHVS 4c 43
311DeviceHVS 4c 150
312Gunpowder Gully ArÍteS 3c 151
313Gunpowder GullyD 109
314Sea Dog SlabVD 134
315Sea Dog Slab Direct
V0- 10
316Sea Dog Slab Indirect
V0- 7
317Sailor's chuteHVD 4a 66
318They Think It's All Over
VS 4b 6
319It Is Now
VD 3c 14
320It Is Now DirectVD 4b 11
321Nelson's Slab Direct Sit-start Plinth Eliminate *f7A 2
322Colder Compass *V5  
323Scuttlebutt *V6  
324Traverse into Hornblower *V6 1
* Climbs listed in red are waiting to be checked by a crag moderator, and may not be accurate.

Moderator Updates to this page are checked by UKC volunteer Lukem6