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
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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.
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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
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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 150
7Bosun's CrackVD 266
8Bosun's WallHVD 4a 216
 Poop Deck 
10The GangplankM *860
11Poop Crackf3 70
12Handy CrackD 597
13Handy WallV0- *36
14Visitors OnlyHS 4a *463
15Visitors WallV1 16
16All AboardD 456
17Saltheart FoamfollowerHVS 5c *77
18Howships Lacunae
V5 *6
V1 *3
20Poop Deck CrackS 4a 325
21The PirateE2 6b 3
22Master and CommanderV5 *1
 Emma's Slab 
24Disabled Seaman
V3 *35
25Cabin Boy
V6 **62
26Cabin Boy Variationf6C *10
27The Cabin
V3 **73
V2 *36
29Sling Your Hammock
V1 **27
30Dan's ArÍtef6C *20
31Crow's Feetf5+ *12
32Land Ho!HS 4c *168
33The Crow's NestVS 4c **917
34Scrim Netf6A *116
35Lookout ArÍteS 4a *223
36The FunnelD *512
37Kiss Me HardyHVD 4a *572
38The DancerE1 5c 13
39Kiss Me Arse
f6A *48
40Kiss Me Arse (Sit-Start)f6C *39
41Monocled Monof6C 20
42Kiss Me Softyf6B *35
43Victory CrackHS 4b *667
44Victory GullyS 4a *297
45Emma's SlabVS 4b *544
46Roger the Cabin Boyf6C *2
47Technical Geniusf7A *23
48Technical Genius (Sit-Start)
f7A+ **6
49Technical Genius ArÍteV4 *16
50Emma's DilemmaS 4a *1324
51Emma RoydVS 4c *356
52Emma's TemptationHVD 4c *1145
53Emma's DelightHS 4b *749
54DeludedVS 4c *262
55Emma's DelusionS 4a *466
56The ProwVS 4c *734
57ArtificialVD 60
58Oak GullyM 55
59Oak Tower
VD 52
60Heather Corner
D 37
61Heather Corner SlabM 35
 Nelson's Slab 
63The Rigging
D 51
64The Bunk LadderS 4a 30
65Captain's PrerogativeHS 4b *816
66Captain's BunkHS 4b *739
67Telescope TunnelM **474
68Captain's Crawl
M 144
69Porthole ButtressS 4a *299
70Porthole DirectVS 4c **1100
71Victor HugoE4 6b *1
72Captain BirdseyeVS 4c 152
73Blind EyeS 4b *236
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 *667
80Half NelsonVS 5a *271
81Left Ladder ChimneyVD 174
82SplicedS 4a 14
83Right Ladder ChimneyHVD 4a 133
 Sail Buttress 
85Midshipman / Plain SailingE2 6a ***78
HVS 5a 20
87Cold CompassE2 6b *1
88The KrakenE6 6c ***2
89Sail ButtressHS 4b **1759
90Roger the Cabin BoyVS 4c *111
91RatlineHVS 5b **513
92Amazing GraceE2 6a 4
93Sail ChimneyS 4a **1036
94TopsailVS 4c **2396
95Marie's Gone to CanadaE1 5c 1
96SpinnakerVS 5a 23
97Monument Chimney CrackVD *419
98Monument ChimneyD *651
 Orpheus Wall 
100Pillar WallS 4a 152
101The BowS 4a *244
102BuggerV1 16
103Orpheus WallHVS 5c **506
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 *261
113Book SnifferE6 6b 1
114Monument Gully ButtressHVS 5b *320
115The KeelHVS 5b *133
116Naughty NauticalsE2 6b 11
117The BoomHVS 5a *2
 The Three Ships 
V1 129
V0 *150
122The Victory Traverse
VB *84
V0 *192
124V for Victory
V0- *251
125Prow Left
V0 *240
126Prow Right
V0+ *234
127Prow Right Dyno
V4 *22
128Victor's Ledge
V0 *139
V0 *201
131The Defiance Traverse
V2 **66
132St. Vincent
V0+ *205
V0+ *170
V0 *191
V0 *248
136Tenerife Right-Hand
V0+ *118
 Royal Soverin 
V0- *184
139The Royal Soverin Traverse
V1 *52
V0 *164
141Buccaneer LeftV0- 60
V0 *128
143Press Gang
V1 *83
V1 *134
145Mini RoofV2 *24
 The Promenade 
147Cutting CornersS 4a 7
148The PromenadeD **1138
149The Promenade DirectHVD 4a *778
150PromarÍtef6A *39
151The ChainS 4a *713
152Megamix Left
V7 * 
153Gritstone Megamixf7A *13
154HMS Daringf7B+ *3
155Splendide Audax
156Thing on a Springf7A *62
157Hollybush GullyVD 4b *336
158Anchor TraverseHS 4b *184
159Floating AnarchyHVS 5a 53
160Powder Monkey ParadeS 4b **1517
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 70
171Admiral's ProgressD *462
172Polaris ExitD *218
173The Admiral's Head
D 3b 9
 Trafalgar Wall 
175Bulbous Bowf5+ 169
176HammockVS 5b *176
177Camperdown CrawlHS 4c **1734
178Camperdown Crawl Right-Hand VariantVS 5c 40
179Barnacle BulgeHS 4c *925
180Trafalgar CrackVD 4a *2303
181Trafalgar WallS 4b **2129
182The Defiance Variation
V0 13
183Defiance Crack
VD 4a 22
184The Long PromenadeVS 4b **44
 Stoker's Wall 
186Bell Bottom ArÍteS 4a 263
187Sailor's CrackS 4b *260
188Sailor's ProblemVD 612
189Whatknot?S 4b *307
190Reef KnotS 4b *651
191SheetbendS 4b 297
192Nautical CrackVD *962
193Heave HoS 4a 317
194Yo-Ho CrackVD *1381
195Rum WallVD 724
196Rum BreakVD 110
197Stoker's BreakVD 803
198Stoker's HoleHS 4a *940
199StokedS 4a *1041
200Stoker's WallD *997
201Stoker's Wall Traverse
VD 3c 32
202Stoker's Wall Crack
M 2c 38
203Stoker's Wall FlakeV0- 31
204Chasing the DragonV9  
 Copenhagen Wall 
206Scandiwallf3+ 24
207Copenhagen Corner Left-Hand VariantVD 26
208Copenhagen Cornerf3+ 385
209Copenhagen Wall Traverse
S 4a 26
210ScandiarÍtef5+ *334
211Dane's Delightf5 *571
212Dane's Disgustf5 *340
213Carlsberg Exportf6B 19
214Mermaidf7C *3
215Copenhagen WallVS 5a *447
V8 **39
217Wonderful Copenhagenf4+ *315
218Mast Gully RidgeVD *459
219Mast GullyM 233
 The Fo'c'sle 
221Mast Gully WallVD 4b 124
222Mast Gully CrackHS 4b *202
223Mast Gully ButtressVS 5a *188
224Fo'c'sle WallVS 4c *346
225Fo'c'sle CrackS 4b *655
226Fo'c'sle ChimneyVD *264
227Fo'c'sle ArÍteVS 5b *69
228Fo'c'sle ArÍte Direct StartV1 4
229Broadsidef6A+ *27
230LowsideV5 *6
231The Brigandf7C+ *3
232The Buccaneerf7A *2
233Cave GullyVD *93
 Tar's Wall 
235Ta Very MuchHS 4c 102
236Tar's ArÍteVD 4a *379
237Ta Ta For NowHS 5a 261
238Tar's CrackVD *465
239Tar's TeeterVS 4c *13
240Tar's WallHVD 4b 626
241Sodomyf6C **24
242Tar's TraverseD 326
243Tar's ClimbM 185
244Tar's GullyD 363
245Pig HeadS 4c 256
246PigtailS 4a 298
247Wavedancef4+ 119
248Prow WallM 229
249Prow GullyM 35
250Prow Gully Prow
HD 3a 25
 Barbette Buttress 
252Barbette ArÍteS 4b 30
253Barbette CrackHS 4b *226
254Barbette WallS 4a 147
255Barbette ButtressS 4b *385
256Cannonball CrackS 3c 96
257Cannonball Wall Direct Start
VS 5a 61
258Cannonball WallVD *406
259Gunner's GangwayD 290
260Lieutenant's LadderD 168
 Seasick Slab 
262Midge's ManoeuvreE2 6a 10
263Middy's ManoeuvreHS 4c *135
264MidwayE1 6b 34
265Torpedo TubeHVD 4a *218
266FlatabackE1 6a 14
267Das BootVS 5a 23
268Gunner's GrooveD 275
269Seasick ArÍte Left-Hand Variation
V0 *18
270Seasick ArÍtef4+ *400
271Seasick Slabf3+ 555
272Seasick Stevef6A+ *9
273Sick as a Parrot
HD 4a 29
274Men UnitedV1 25
275Isle of MenV2 *20
 Wooden Leg Wall 
277Three Sheets to the Wind
HVD 4b 18
278Cabin FeverHVD 4a 86
279Wooden Leg Wall - Left CornerD 3b 23
280Spotted Dick
V3 3
281Moby DickS 4a 167
282Old CodgerVS 4c *79
283Bold CodgerE2 6a 5
284Wooden Leg WallHVS 5c *59
285Owd GadgeeE2 6a 4
286Young Gadfly
HS 4b 16
287Wooden Leg Wall - Right Corner
HD 3c 23
288Stoker's CrackS 4b 97
289Stoker's SaunterVD 116
290Knick KnackE1 5b 40
291Easy CornerM 42
292Matelot's MeanderS 4a 130
 Kismet Buttress 
294Yard Arm
V0- 34
295Implosionf5+ 38
296Explosionf4+ *183
297Blast Hole Wallf5 *126
298Cor Limey!VD 24
299Powder KegS 4a 44
V3 5
301FuseVS 5a *228
302Gun-Cotton GrooveVD *440
303Cook's RibE1 5c *137
304Horatio's DirectVS 4c *150
305Horatio's HorrorHS 4a **482
306Heavy CruiserE1 6a  
307Nelson's NemesisVS 4b ***750
308Tom's ArÍteE5 6b 1
309Victory ViceVD *131
310For Queen and CountryHVS 4c 45
311DeviceHVS 4c 151
312Gunpowder Gully ArÍteS 3c 153
313Gunpowder GullyD 110
314Sea Dog SlabVD 135
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.

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