/ Wintour's Leap - the quarry access

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Rick Sewards - on 11 Jul 2018

Evening all

The owners of Woodcroft Quarry have put up new fencing and barbed wire to attempt to stop people accessing the quarry.  At least one pair of climbers have also been asked to leave the quarry today.  The background to this is that although we have an agreement with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust which allows climbing on Wintour's Leap from GO Wall to North Wall, no such agreement exists for the privately-owned quarry (or indeed Fly Wall) and there have previously been attempts to enforce a ban on climbing in the quarry.  One further issue (which may well have prompted the latest action)  is that in the last couple of years there has been an increasing incidence of anti-social behaviour from non-climbers in the quarry - I've posted previously about this in relation to deliberate disturbance of the peregrines on Fly Wall. 

I'm not sure whether there will be any continuing attempts to prevent climbers from climbing in the quarry, but at present there is no direct access from the top - of course, this does not prevent access using any of the other entry points for Wintour's Leap.  What I would ask is to please NOT attempt to circumvent the new barrier by trespassing onto the garden or driveway of the house immediately to the left of the quarry entrance - the owner of this house is very reasonable and has been well-disposed to climbers, and I hope we can keep it that way.

Sorry to have to be the bearer of (more!) bad news tonight






atthedropofahat on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Rick Sewards:

Lets hope the turd on the belay ledge surrounding the abseil stake of central rib route has degraded. At least climbing past it you can avoid getting your ropes in it, you won't be able to do the same if you abseil from it.

Bluebird - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Rick Sewards:

Many thanks. A plaque/sign on Fly Wall says Fly is part of Lancaut Nature Reserve and that climbers can use it? (There is a BMC logo next to the Wildlife Trust logo on the plaque) I took this to mean we can still climb on Fly providing we take the long walk/ab in etc? 

Please advise.


Dave Wynne-Jones on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Rick Sewards:

Hi Rick,

Are you able to tell us at this time what actions are being taken to negotiate the reopening of the quarry to climbers? The Fairy Cave solution might work.


Rick Sewards - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Bluebird:

Fly Wall is a bit of an oddity, as it is privately owned - part of the same plot of land as the quarry - but managed by the GWT as part of the nature reserve, and they are happy for climbers to climb on it subject to the agreed nesting restriction (now lifted for this year).  The rest of Wintour's Leap is both owned and managed by the GWT.  In the past when the issue has come up the quarry owners have generally been more concerned with climbing in the quarry itself.

I would say that the one thing that has changed is the blocking of the most convenient access route into the quarry (and that end of Wintour's Leap generally) - there wasn't any agreement to climb in the quarry before, and so it was always possible that climbers could be asked to leave (and this has happened before).  As ever, if asked to leave by the owners or their representatives then please do so and remain civil (even if the person doing the asking is not!), but also could you please let me know about it.  I am hoping to take advice on the next steps (if any) before posting more - the Fairy Cave solution had occurred to me but I'm not sure of the likelihood of it being agreed.    The main reason I posted straight away last night was I wanted to try to make sure that climbers don't disturb the residents of the house next to the quarry by going onto their property, and to let everyone planning on climbing at Wintour's Leap factor in the possibly longer approach (depending on where you are climbing).




Ungabunga73 - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Rick Sewards

Hi Rick,
This is crap news, was only there Monday night and have fell in love with the place.
Me and some mates only started going there about a month ago and have not climbed Wintours yet, how far is the approach from the pub if we use the Wintours side to get in, 20 minutes ???
Or do you think it's wise to stay clear for a while and just check out Wintours ?

Dave Cundy - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Ungabunga73:

Yes, I guess it's about fifteen to twenty minutes to walk from the Rising Sun to the Easy Way Down and to down climb it.  And then another fifteen minutes back up to the quarry.


Thanks for the heads-up Rick,  It's my favourite evening crag, so I'll probably have to go and add some more polish to the EWD.

Fatclimber - on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Rick Sewards:

Must check the estate agents.

springfall2008 - on 13 Jul 2018
In reply to Rick Sewards:

With my crag moderators hat on:

Please keep in mind that Easy Way Down isn't (easy), it's not really recommended for inexperienced climbers or walking in with trainers and back-packs. I'm sure some do, but most people I know gear up at the top if they are walking down this way.

You can access Wintours leap from Off-Dyke's path, the entrance is just before Old School Lane turning on the left, you walk down the path and then walk along the river across the Screed Slope (and back up the path for the Quarry).

You can also accesss from the other end, parking near the Ban-y-gor access point and then walk down the good path to the bottom of the cliff and along.

Personally speaking:

Is there not any way around the new fence without going through next doors garden (which really isn't in any way acceptable)? I know the gate is fairly high but is the new bit of fence too high to climb and is there any way around it in the undergrowth?

Also, as my friend pointed out, there has been access this way for over 20 years, I wonder if someone could claim a public right of way - might be worth a try?


Post edited at 08:52
rich H0001 - on 13 Jul 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

Went to climb here last night before we knew about the access issue and decided to climb at Ban y Gor instead.

A few Heras fence panels have been used to plug the gaps in the fence and some nasty nests of barbed wire have been strung around.

We got speaking to the neighbour who was very friendly and very much for climbers. The issue seems to be teenagers causing a bit of trouble and safety concerns associated with their behaviour.

The main thing seemed to be not to tamper with the new fences/barbed wire as they are there to deter the pesky kids. Probably wont be any issues with climbing here as long as damage isnt caused to the fence. Given a bit of time this should die down so for the meantime climb elsewhere or take the long way around.

springfall2008 - on 13 Jul 2018
In reply to rich H0001:

It's really not that far around if you take the lower entrance path, it's just you have to walk down and then back up again. The main issue is without this access it's not going to be such a popular sports climbing destination.


Cheese Monkey - on 13 Jul 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

In my opinion if it loses popularity because people are just too lazy to walk around then so be it. A loss of popularity is a total non-issue compared to the alternative of risking losing all access and potentially upsetting GWT in the process. 

Just walk around. Not hard

springfall2008 - on 13 Jul 2018
In reply to Cheese Monkey:

Yes it's a fair point (although I can't see how it would be possible to lose access to Wintours in general the quarry could become a problem).

I'm surprised by how lazy some people are, Wyndcliff Quarry is popular because it's easy to get to

Cheese Monkey - on 13 Jul 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

Yeah I meant all access to Woodcroft Quarry.


There aren't many people I know that don't occasionally enjoy the convenience of places like Wyndcliff. 

bpmclimb on 16 Jul 2018
In reply to springfall2008:

> I'm surprised by how lazy some people are, Wyndcliff Quarry is popular because it's easy to get to

Yes, the ease of access, but also the south-facing aspect, the quickest drying rock in the valley, the extensive selection of low-mid grade sport routes. Not so surprising, really

Tom Brierley on 16 Jul 2018

Fly wall is one of my favourites, I've been lucky enough to have enjoyed it for a long time, but maybe this is for the best:

I've had the unpleasant experience of enduring raining rocks while on route in South Bay (under the top of easy way down which is literally a few meters off the path). I caught one of the kids when I got to the top who eventually apologised after understanding the seriousness of what he was doing (most of the rocks end up directly in the walkers path underneath so it's not just climbers).

The last few times I went to Fly Wall I noticed a lot of older kids hanging around the top right at the edge close to the top of various climbs, so you can imagine my concern. So, as convenient as it was - i'd rather the longer walk-in, given such a barrier to entry is likely to only attract those who respect the area - I hope the owners recognise climbers as part of that category.

Post edited at 16:55
migliari on 17 Jul 2018
In reply to Rick Sewards:

very many thanks Rick, we were there on the 11th evening just before/after you and after the morning trouble with the police and the youngsters. That was our second time at the quarry in as many weeks and I cannot hide our disappointment. The same evening I quickly added some amendments to Wintour's Leap access description, just to give people heads up on the situation, but forgot to post here - my apologies. We also spoke to the same neighbour, he's a really nice bloke and we certainly felt that people living nearby had a few rough years with an increasing number of non-climbers using the quarry to get drunk and be noisy but also deal drugs. Residents chose this beautiful spot for its peace and quiet and it would be very wrong if anyone, just out of laziness, attempted to jump the new or old fence instead of walking around. Last week we took the Ban-y-gor access down to the river, across Wintour's Leap and up into the Quarry - it takes about 25min. and it is quite steep in and out, but having backpacks we just didn't feel safe using the Easy Way Down. I must admit that my level of fitness was tested on the return trip, as we made our way back the same way as we got in, and it's also a touch tricky to follow the steep path down from the quarry using a head torch in the dark.

While I agree that it is a pity that easy access has been taken away for no fault of the climbing community, making it less suitable for people like myself who need to drive for 1 hour just to get there and can't really leave before 6pm, at the end of the day the quarry is private property and the owner and local residents must be respected. From now on I will check forum for any news and account an extra 30-45min for access and if timing doesn't allow will go to Ban-y-gor or Wyndcliff. I hope that some future negotiations between the quarry owners and the BMC might be possible, but I can't see a quick resolution to the access problem without bringing back the issues that cause it in the first place.

Perhaps the Fairy Cave solution, which was suggested by Dave, might work if a proper gated entrance was installed. May I suggest, should any negotiation be successful, a fund raising among local climbers to pay towards any reasonable costs in order to reinstate proper easy access? I'm sure the quarry owners are quite annoyed about this incident, having to pay to secure an area which has no longer any commercial value and does not generate a profit, so it would be a token gesture to try and work together. I would be happy to contribute as this would make my outdoor climbing more likely to happen in the future instead of giving the same money to Redpoint in Bristol.

Thank you again for your prompt report.

paul wood - on 17 Jul 2018
In reply to migliari:

To deal drugs? Really?  This sounds like an exaggeration to me.

fred99 - on 17 Jul 2018
In reply to paul wood:

Considering the number that have been there taking drugs, I'd be very surprised if a supplier hadn't arranged to be present on a regular basis.

Paz - on 17 Jul 2018

Awesome news! 

So basically now apart from A Nightmare of Brown Sugar, there's no good reason for all my bloody sport climber friends to insist I climb in Woodcroft Quarry with them, as it now not only has a more painful walk in than Shornecliife, that same walk goes past all but one of the classic parts of Wintour's Leap, and then even when you get to the bottom of Fly Wall,



Post edited at 22:07
Rick Sewards - on 18 Jul 2018
In reply to Rick Sewards:

Hi all

I haven't had time to reply to all the messages on this thread, but please can I remind climbers not to try to go round the new gateway on the left as that takes you into the neighbouring garden.  It's worth saying that the southern approach to Wintour's Leap (highlighted in Springfall2008's post) is actually a pretty quick way into Fly Wall in particular, even though it's not been used much by climbers previously. 

The good news is that the Easy Way Down is currently as glass-and-litter-free as it's been for years - thanks very much to the efforts of Paul and Finley Wood, and Jeremy and Sam Cowen, for cleaning this up.   The much less good news is that a group had a campsite (complete with fire - a spectacularly bad idea in the current conditions) at the bottom of Deceiver Buttress and refused to leave when asked to do so by the GWT warden - I'm sad to report that this group apparently had a rope and guidebook.  At the risk of repeating myself from previous postings, please NO camping or fires anywhere at Wintour's Leap or Ban-y-Gor.


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