/ Old quarries/areas for boulders in Oxford

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timmr002 - on 14 Jun 2018

Hi all,

I'm getting bored of having no real rock to climb in Oxford. There was a post some 14 years ago dismissing any chance of any old quarries being climbable (see, and I haven't heard or seen any areas of potential, since. 

A quick google led me to Magdalen quarry but this looks both chossy and dirty, and is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, so is probably a non-starter.

I'm willing to put some time into finding and developing something (anything), but was wondering if anyone could help or point me in the right direction? There is limestone in the area, and a few active quarries. I'm just hoping that there's a lonely boulder hidden away in some woodland somewhere, although remain quite doubtful.

Any updates would be greatly appreciated. Cheers.

P.S. I am aware of all of the current man-made climbing options, e.g. Horspath.

Chris Sansum - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to timmr002:

Not a lot of rock in these parts - just chalk and flint as far as I’m aware. I’ve climbed on the chalk around here (in Reading), but only good for a laugh one day rather than repeat visits! We climbed it with axes and crampons. Only problem was half the cliff fell down each time you swung an axe, if it wasn’t bouncing off the flints embedded in the chalk. Definitely something to top rope rather than lead.

Good luck finding something, but I think you’re more likely to find buildering venues than bouldering!



99ster - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to timmr002:

There is nothing in or around Oxford - but you should check out the BMC 'RAD' app.  Then it might be worth a trip to Compton Verney or the 2 or 3 bouldering venues in Warwickshire?



Doug on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to timmr002:

I'm sure if there was something it would have been found by now. The only outdoor climbing I did when I spent a year in Oxford (many years ago) was on buildings plus a couple of visits to Horspath. Just accept that you'll have to travel (Avon isn't far) or move

mountain.martin - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to timmr002:

I lived in Oxford for the first 25 years of my life and moved away because there is no climbing anywhere nearby. Symonds yat was our favoured option for a day trip and that was 90mins each way.

The railway bridge at horspath was the best thing I found for bouldering/training. At least you have an indoor wall now. 

Sorry if that isn't what you wanted to hear. It's a shame because Oxford is a nice city to live in apart from that one flaw.

timmr002 - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to timmr002:

Cool - thanks everyone. Time to buy a car...

d_b on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to timmr002:

Getting a train to Bristol might work if polished multi pitch limestone is acceptable.

Dave Garnett - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to timmr002:

It's odd, but I don't even recall doing much in the way of buildering either - it was the hideous green wall in the sports centre or Oxford Brookes.  

Jamie Wakeham - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to timmr002:

As a few others have said - if there was anything any good, we'd have found it by now!  The only worthwhile options are:


Iffley (needs OUMC membership)

Horspath (though I'm stretching the definition of 'worthwhile' there)

The Oxford Boulder up in Blackbird Leys (ditto)

Then a bit further afield you could try Compton Verney, but I have no idea of what the access arrangements are these days.  Cleeve Hill is a bit more than an hour away and can provide half a day's distraction. 

Look on the bright side - if you were looking for somewhere to live that had relatively easy access to as many different climbing areas as possible, you'd end up somewhere about here.  There aren't many places that are < 3 hours to the Peak, Avon, Cheddar, Swanage & Portland, Wye, Gower, and Dartmoor...

Post edited at 09:27
timmr002 - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Oh the things I could say about Oxford Brookes!

Me and my climbing partner have opted to go to Reading most evenings now. It's a 25 minute train journey if you catch a mainline train, and only £6.25 with a Railcard, and there's nearly always space for a bike, meaning you have just a short cycle the otherside to the centre.

Bulls Crack - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to timmr002:

Yes, Magdalen Quarry is a geological SSSI of some significance - best to keep clear! 

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