Today we got approached by two separate locals. Was told especially
Apparently the locals have called a meeting about recreational use of the woods with the council and highway this Tuesday.
Managed to tell them a bit about UKC/BMC to clarify access as previously unaware there was governing body so to speak- has anyone from UKC been notified or attending this meet?
They want to stop parking ALL on the road, except the designated 6/7 spaces? I think this is tricky with social distancing rules and the traffic there - they said there were 38 cars last Saturday where usually there are none
The guy I spoke to said the drywalls are being totally destroyed, cars are damaging the flora and scaring away deer, (not just climbers, mountain bikers have been digging up tracks and illegal scramblers too - he understands) but he says in response visitor's cars have been damaged, keyed, one was set on fire(?!) and serious bad vibes in the town he said. The people we spoke to were so nice but just warning us really. They were speaking to as many climbers as they could find.
He also told me the area had been involved in a murder which was also causing unease.
Want to know if anyone else heard the same thing and importantly, who representing the UK climbing community will be responding to this? To locals? To clarify access with us?
I do understand their frustration, people have clearly been climbing on wet boulders causing erosion that wasn't there last week we picked up a load of trash others had left behind but something needs to be done if we want to continue climbing there safely and respectfully.
Sounds like something for the local BMC Access Rep, whoever it may be.
I suspect its because the indoor walls are closed. Having the same problems round my way. Its a bit like all the idiots heading off to Bournemouth.
Sounds pretty rubbish, I'm localish and climb at caedman woods a fair bit, I'm very surprised climbers are there in any numbers, it's quite a esoteric venue! I've only seen other climbers there once! The laybys are usually full of kids drinking and smoking!
Although climbing here is far from great there are some quality problems and I would be a shame if anything affected access.
If it makes any difference I have carted out 3 full bin bags of rubbish in the last month or so, climbers aren't all bad!
I cant say I'm too surprised about mountain bikers causing issues it is a very small area but has seemed to become very popular.
I think caedman woods is somewhere biggners would only go once, it's quite an acquired taste!
I am VERY localish and this sounds OTT, and may be a bit of a windup.
The number of cars on Turolough Road was high today and there is far more chalk on the rocks at present, but the biggest issue in the woods are cyclists and the wide and rutted tracks have changed the character of the area over the last 10 years. The chap who bought the recently sold section seems very reasonable and has a genuine interest in preserving the woodland, but does want the walls left alone. People are treating the woods with huge disrespect, that is nothing new – just there are far more people at present. It is a great place that needs looking after.
The murder story is interesting – not heard that one. There was a murder in 1999.
We also litter pick here regularly - it is needed.
Great to hear - It sounded like he wanted rid of the people, so understand how he might exaggerate!
There's a dumped mattress they think is climbers so yeah if locals see us picking up trash would be good! Hope traffic clears up with lockdown restrictions easing & Wales opening up.
Just a reminder to us all to be on best behaviour I suppose (though I'll call the BMC rep tomorrow morning just in case)
> as previously unaware there was governing body so to speak-
There isn't is there?
Depends on your definition, but the BMC works hard to balance access, conservation and local concerns. https://www.thebmc.co.uk/articles/Rock%20Climbing/access_conservation
I honestly don't think 'climbing' is a particular problem here (the climbing is not that great!), but the fact that many in Whitwick and Thringstone are furloughed, off school and are using this resource very frequently at the moment means that it is busy, littered and looking much more worn. There are not so many dry stone walls, but there has been a history of these being opened up at points of weakness.
It is interesting that the usually vociferous Spotted Whitwick facebook page is devoid of comment.
I was approached here a few weeks back by a lady who was in the 'friends of cademan woods' group or something along them lines. She was friendly but was asking why suddenly they were getting an influx of climbers in the woods and she was defo a bit uneasy about it. I said that she should contact the BMC and ask them to publish some guidelines on the RAD. She also wanted to see if UKC would remove the location and link to the online topo. Not sure if she followed it up. Her general concern was mainly the noise and litter which she was picking up.
Top tip for anyone inspired to explore the area: there is a large parking are on Swannymote road (I've never had a problem parking here), Cademan woods is not a big place, you can walk to all areas in 10 minutes if you know where you're going, and if you don't these are some delightful Woodlands to spend some time wandering round and exploring!
> She also wanted to see if UKC would remove the location and link to the online topo. Not sure if she followed it up.
We haven't received any approach about Cademan Woods and Broad Hill. We wouldn't remove links describing the crag but we frequently update Logbook crag listings with improved access information. I have added some updated information just now.
The BMC RAD link is obviously a bit old - https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/RAD/View.aspx?id=2034
I explained that to her and she was very reasonable. She was under the impression the influx was climbers was due to the woods being put on some website. I presume she meant the online topo that is linked on UKC page. I explained that it was more likely that since the lockdown was partially lifted and people were out climbing they were actively avoiding the more popular areas (which was why I was there) and in general lots of people were out. She didn't have a specific problem with climbers per se just the sheer number of people affecting the peace and quiet of the woods.
I just said she should contact both the BMC and UKC and raise concerns as they will happily update their access pages with warnings about the wall, parking, general noise etc.
I actually quite liked the place - I was pretty surprised as the guide suggested it was gonna be a bit crap. The setting is nice and there are quite a few decent problems across all the grades (well, least the ones I can climb).
The BMC is the National Representative Body for climbing, and the National Governing Body for Competition Climbing, if that helps.
In this case, they are the appropriate people to get in touch with. The local reps are listed here: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/list-of-bmc-access-reps.
"I suspect its because the indoor walls are closed. Having the same problems round my way. Its a bit like all the idiots heading off to Bournemouth."
The people I know who have been there recently were visiting for the first few times and are standard well behaved outdoor climbers. So I think the uptake is almost certainly a 'what is in local fashion' issue. The locals should be glad more climbers are going if some people are mistreating the woods, as climbers often organise and act against such problems.
That first 'the' should really be an 'a'. Strictly speaking the BMC represent their members but do wider good in the interests of all climbers and hillwalkers.
Good to know!
> Cademan woods is not a big place, you can walk to all areas in 10 minutes if you know where you're going
Exactly, if you know where you're going - been orienteering in there and it is oh so easy to go the wrong way and end up exactly where you think you aren't 😁
Ben Turner has now updated the online guidebook to address some of these issues, he has also added a link to this thread on the website the guide is hosted on. I have updated the crag page with a message about parking and with GPS Coordinates so some locations where parking should not cause problems. The Logbook Editor has added these parking spots to the interactive map alongside the existing parking spots.
I've started bouldering at cademan recently (after moving back to the midlands) and am really enjoying it. I used to climb a lot in the peak district before but less so now I've moved because the drive is long and when no able to stay overnight after a long day climbing I'm tired and achy and a long drive doesn't always feel safest in this state. I also feel safer staying a bit more local and the fact that it's right next to the road so if an accident would happen I'd feel more likely to manage it without using emergency services unlike a lot of crags.
So for me it's been a useful discovery and I'd hate to see access removed.
I've bumped into a few indoor climbers going outdoors for the first time there but don't think they'd be back as in friendly conversations with them they said they found it too hard.
I've seen a lot of mountain bikers, walkers and teenagers who look like they've been smoking stuff plus rekon a few bbqs been happening there so I don't think it's climbers responsible for a lot of the issues and would be crap to be penalised for this.
I try to go on weekdays, and will be take a bag to do some litter picking next time.
I wonder if there is a discussion with the locals whether some of these points could be put across ?: - the general lack of good (and safe) crags in the midlands making it not as easy as just dispersing the climbers to other crags going somewhere else nearby like it is in other areas. Cutting off access for some might mean they literally cannot go elsewhere to climb.
- the climbers who are going there due to the situation of trying to stay local to the midlands and go there because they might feel it is safer than further afield right now.
All quiet and also respectable in terms of rubbish when I wandered through tonight, but there is chalk where I have never seen before! Parking at the very bottom of Grace Dieu woods by the pub is another option that people could consider.
Just to add to the general information:
I was there yesterday (30/06/20) and two locals came to speak to us seperately.
The first complained about the sheer number of us and how we are adding risk to the spread of COVID 19, how access to the woods is not guaranteed, land owner and locals are tired, please use the gate, dont climb the wall, dont damage the area, it's a SSSI etc. He was grumpy (fair) - none of us argued and we were all polite (the 12 or so people in the immediate vicinity), and tried to explain the access conditions were made clear on UKC. He was there chopping trees with another person, assume he's connected to the owner.
The other was a nice old gentleman walking his two dogs (a local who does so often) who said the locals are just grumpy people and to ignore them, a nice contrast.
About 2 hours later, there were motorbikes being very noisy (assume they were having fun on the jumps). Most of the litter was not climber related. McD bags and bits, broken beer bottles, a fridge and mattress fly tipped, plastic drinks bottles etc, most of which were road-side and in non-climbing areas. As others have pointed out, it's also a nice spot for teenagers to smoke weed / drink alcohol and leave a mess.
Will return with bin bags and do a collection next time i'm there.
Mind you can understand if the locals are miffed with crap like this left,
Ridiculously huge tick Mark's
Chalked up footholds (I mean this actually makes things harder!)
Soooooo much chalk, it's like it's been painted on!
USE A BRUSH PUNTERS!
We were there yesterday as well. There were no other cars there when we arrived in the morning. By the evening, the parking was rammed and I'm not surprised that that number of vehicles is attracting attention. I think it was more cyclists and walkers than climbers but we did see about 4 small groups of climbers throughout the day. The woods are noticeably a lot busier than they were a few years ago, there's more walkers, climbers and cyclists.
Some areas were quite clean but the rubbish was bad in places (almost all of the rubbish appeared to be non-climbers):
1) A mattress and other rubbish has been fly tipped in one of the laybys at the roadside area
2) It looks as though a homeless person has been living near the Tooth. The ground had been built up to make a flat area (not by the boulder), there were multiple tarps set up to make a shelter and there were 2 mattresses there.
3) The Grace Dieu Boulder was a disgrace, rubbish everywhere. This seemed to be kids/teenagers which isn't surprising given its right next to the houses. There's a lot of rubbish all over the woods on that side of the road due to the proximity of the houses. This rubbish clearly isn't from climbers.
4) Broken glass from bottles everywhere. Obviously from teenagers drinking, not climbers but if it's near the climbing, locals are likely to blame climbers.
I had meant to bring some rubbish bags from home to pick up any rubbish I found but I forgot. If every group took one bin bag with them, the woods would be noticeably cleaner in no time and it should help people's perceptions of climbers there. If anyone is planning to go to Grace Dieu, it could really do with a tidy up. It can't do any harm to put more effort in to brushing off chalk when you are finished too.
The big stuff is going to need the council to clean it up or a very community spirited person with a van.
If climbers are climbing over walls, there really is no excuse. You can walk from one end of the woods to the other in 10 or 15 minutes, it isn't far to go round.
I have only ever had positive interactions with locals there, often mixed with bemusement. I don't think I've ever met the landowners though.
Copy and paste of a comment I made on a Facebook post:
We spoke to the owner a few weeks ago. He was quite happy for us to be there. Told us about the break in the wall which we admitted had always thought was an intentional step, but other than that had quite a long chat with him and he had no problem with us and made no negative comments about climbers in general other than using the gap in the wall.
It has seemed to blow up in the last couple of weeks though.
I think the problems with volume of climbers are pretty isolated to the roadside/hobs hole area. We have spent our time when we’ve been there recently around the Grace dieu/allotments and only seen 2 other groups at all over several outings. Haven’t seen any littering around there either but a definite increase in dog poo, MTB’s and the local youths.
In contrast to roadside we drove down the weekend before last, there were groups climbing on absolutely everything and I mean everything - even every single rock at the pillar area - and not a single parking space, could hardly get the car down there. We turned round and left.
Me and a mate had a day off today so went down there at lunch time hoping to be able to have a go at some of the problems there but even on a damp midweek afternoon there were 3 teams already down there.
Didn’t realise there have been problems and as mentioned in the UKC forum post would have expected them to be aired on spotted Whitwick. But can see why they’re getting annoyed at that end in particular and will continue to avoid the roadside area for now.
I didn't go to those boulders you showed, but the ones we were on were also fairly chalked - it is an eye sore for non-climbers and I appreciate that. Might bring a big brush to try and brush things down next time im there (a soft non-abrasive brush before anyone says anything)
In reply to SDM:
I saw a bushcraft shelter with tarps but thought it was a local practicing his bushcraft skills, didn't think it might be a homeless person's shelter.
The den at the tooth has been developed quite a bit over the course of the last year. This time last year it was one tarp and the mattress, now the ground has been levelled and built up with pallet sofa’s. I think it’s the local kids chill out spot as I have seen them going around there quite a few times. Fair play to them they don’t seem to cause any trouble or leave any litter unless someone else is going round cleaning up after them.
There’s another bushcraft den in the woodland further up the road from the Addams family area away from all the listed boulders in the guidebook. Which does look like a proper ray mears style set up.
I went up there yesterday for the first time and was cautiously optimistic after reading this post about it being too busy and bothering the locals.
I was shocked to find it surprisingly quiet! There were a few groups dotted around climbing but nothing that caused any issues. Walkers came by frequently and said hello and were very friendly.
Only real issue I found was loads of broken glass around the “Pirate Block” on the floor and also in the jugs and crimps on the “Easy Crack” route. I tried to clean it out the best I could but I feel there’s probably more around the area.
Sad to hear that locals are having issues. Im a student at Lboro uni and cycled out here to climb twice during lockdown, having visited it one time before all the 'rona kicked off.
I absolutely love the place and there's some incredible climbing here.
As somebody previously said, I also thought the break in the drystone wall (near roadside / hobs hole) was intentional due to what looks like a step beneath the dip. Not seen any other damage elsewhere.
Interested to see what the bloke means by 'cars damaging flora', don't remember there being much vegetation down the middle of the road. Sounds like we are all doing our bit with the litter at least, when i return i'll make sure to bring bags also.
Is climbing on wet boulders an issue here? as far as i'm aware the rock is extremely hard & doesnt weather at all like the sandstone crags where this would normally be an issue?
Good to see the students getting out to use the local crags, I rather enjoyed the local climbing when I was at uni in Loughborough.
RE: Wet boulders
You are unlikely to damage the rock directly by climbing on it in the wet as it doesn't really absorb water in the same way that sandstone does. You will however likely struggle keeping the soles of your shoes clean and are likely to add a lot of polish to the rock very quickly if you aren't careful about this. I can't imagine Leicestershire granite being enjoyable in the wet anyway!
Sadly this has become a local issue on Facebook now due to some threatening graffiti. Most locals are fine, but there is a threat of vehicle damage that might be worth being careful about.
see Spotted Whitwick.