Climbs 157
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 200m a.s.l
Faces all

BenP solo on Jive Talkin', E2 5b, Fairy Caves Quarry © James Jackson

Crag features

A large limestone quarry featuring some very good quality slabs up to 40m in height. The main areas mostly face north; nevertheless they get some sun from May to August and are quick to dry. The slabs can, however, remain damp for extended periods in the depths of winter. There is also an assortment of areas facing west, south and east: these are generally of lesser quality. 

For access it is vital to first read the access notes issued by the BMC at In particular note "The combination for the padlock can be obtained by emailing Ian Butterworth, the BMC SW Access Rep for Mendip & Somerset, at stating your name, contact details and membership of any climbing clubs or BMC. [BMC membership is not a condition of entry.] Ian will return the combination padlock code. He will maintain a list of those who have been provided with the code so they can be informed should it be changed." Ian is to be congratulated for the successful conclusion of a sustained period of negotiation.

Approach notes

The quarry is situated just east of a small lane between Stoke St. Michael/Oakhill and Holcombe. It is one and half kilometres west of the Holcombe Quarries, and clearly marked on OS maps. There is roadside parking for four or five cars, but large lorries regularly use the narrow road, so please park with this in mind.

Access Advice

The BMC have secured access for climbers through negotiation with the landowner. There is a combination lock in place on the entrance gate - the code for the lock can be obtained by emailing Ian Butterworth, the BMC SW Access Rep at stating your name, contact details and any climbing clubs or BMC membership (BMC membership is not a condition of entry). It is worth emailing in plenty of time before planning a visit to ensure that Ian has time to respond.

Ian will maintain a list of those who have been given the combination so they can be informed should it be changed. Please see PDF here for details:

March 2016 update: on two occasions recently, climbers have seen and heard people firing a shot gun in the quarry. Clearly this is happening outside of the climbing and caving access agreement and is potentially very dangerous for other quarry users. The matter has been reported to the police and they would very much like to trace the people concerned. They would like anyone who sees this happening to phone the police using 101 or 999 as soon as possible. It would also be helpful to take the registration numbers of any parked vehicles. However, for obvious reasons, please do not approach the gun users or place yourself in a potentially dangerous situation.

Worth noting that on Glacial Point the cam slot adjacent to the decent hold at 6m or so is not at all "off-line", it's reachable without moving a single limb from the line and makes a more natural and balanced route with two "bold but safe-ish" sections. But hopefully the onsight leader would just do this anyway.
Fiend - 01/Nov/16
Capability Brown: From the logbook entries it appears that people are finding the reference to a rockover misleading. Basically, after zig-zagging up the cracks, you have to stand up in the highest one. I did this as a leftward rocker move, but I daresay there are other ways. Un undercling in the crack may help, together with one or two tiny crips on the wall above. The crux moves then follow, to reach easier ground.
bpmclimb - 26/Sep/15
As promised, I checked out some new routes. There You Go Norm and Moving On will be deleted in a few days as they don't really exist independently of other routes. The same is possibly true of Slip Disc, if you allow Lumbar Puncture a little "bandwidth" - I'll get a second opinion on that. I climbed the following lines and confirmed that they do exist independently: I've started So . , Your Ghost, I Like Big Butts - so these stay on UKC. Bonner's Route and Gatto Sul Tetto stay too, although the rock on them looks pretty poor, so I've no inclination whatever to reclimb them. How these routes will appear in the next guidebook (if at all) is not yet decided - no guarantees.
bpmclimb - 05/Jun/15
There's about 8 relatively recent new route claims. I can pretty much visualise where they all go, but I will get down to FCQ and check them all in the flesh over the next few weeks. Some sound like they use too much of existing routes to be considered new routes, some have (to my certain knowledge) been climbed several times previously and were excluded as routes on the grounds of overcrowding of slabs, others were looked at but considered too loose to be justifiable. All will be fairly considered, but please don't be upset if your "new" route doesn't find its way into a guidebook (or even stays on the UKC database). To would-be Fairy Cave first ascentionists: pretty much every bit of remotely solid rock under a UK tech grade of, say, 5c has already been climbed, probably several times. By all means try for that amazing find, but be aware that it's now extremely unlikely. And frankly, while I remain the crag moderator, I'm not prepared to sign off as checked any more blatant choss-fests here on UKC (let alone submit them for inclusion in a guidebook), because I think they are too dangerous to be justifiable. Some existing routes in this category (including one or two misguided efforts of my own) may well be removed from the next guidebook, or at least relegated in some way as of historical interest only.
bpmclimb - 02/Jun/15
how do i find out the combination to this lock? looking at an adventure this weekend...
01lewisj - 18/Feb/15
Strike that last comment. There is a new lock but you now have to line up the combination against the black line NOT the centre line.
perrinr - 27/Oct/14
I visited today Saturday 25 Oct and there is a new padlock and combination.
perrinr - 25/Oct/14
Please note that the climber in the Epic-dural pic has strayed too far left near the top of the lower slab. In general, there seems to be some (understandable) doubt about the exact line of both this route and Lumbar Puncture. I've amended the route descriptions to (hopefully) make things a little clearer.
bpmclimb - 08/Sep/14
Just be bloody careful, it's all loose as f***!
GBurton - 09/Aug/14
one of the best crags iv been to. helmets are a must due to the loose nature of the rock in some areas, however this will improve with a little more traffic. i love how quiet this place is. on an average day you will have the quarry to yourself and make sure you take sun cream as there very little protction from the sun.
Tom Harper - 20/Jun/14
I love Fairy Cave. Yes, be careful of loose rock; yes, park well off the road. Gradings in the guide for me are not always spot on, agree that Smell the Glove is more like E2, but apart from this I find climbs tend to be over-graded if anything e.g. Life in Limbo, The Tory... A lovely place to hang out for me - very quiet location, lots of birds for company, nice sunsets, good for trad adventures...
Tristypants - 14/May/14
Many routes here rely on sandstone concretions. These are soft and easily broken, the damage near the start of Rob's crack evidence of this. In many soft sandstone areas, Harrisons for example, it is recognised that no climbing should take place for a day or two after rain to minimise rock damage. This doesn't apply to all FCQ but people should consider avoiding routes like 4 Steps... or Stepping Out until they have had a chance to dry completely.
duncan - 16/Oct/13
Black spot Tracy??, really?? The whole bloody quarry is potentially lethal. Brian had a serious accident just scrambling to the very popular Bad to The Bone. Stanage it is not!!
Mark Davies PK - 12/Oct/13
Just added a FCQ "Top 20" Ticklist to UKC- based around the 14 climbs included in the CC South West Select Guide Vol. 1, and adding these 6 others: Smell the Glove E1 Stepping Out E3 Back Off E2 Talk to the Hand VS Halfway to Kansas HS Jive Talkin' E1 Complete list:
The Ivanator - 29/Jul/13
Went to FCQ on Monday night - witnessed an accident on Fairy Lite - it is horrendously loose (why no black spot in the guide, Brian??) - belayer pulling ropes up dislodged a block (microwave size) which hit the second on the ground - he was walking wounded back to the car (if it had fallen from much further up i don't think he would have been walking anywhere!) - after the winter be careful there as there will be lots of loose stuff, especially on the newer developed areas as they won't have had much traffic previously.
TraceyR - 05/Jun/13
Be wary of friction with the local youth who like to hang out here just as much as the climbers. On one occasion I have had my car vandalised and on another a very unpleasant confrontation with a couple of ASBO dirt bike riders looking for trouble.
GBurton - 06/Aug/12
FCQ grades are now amended here in the UKC database to reflect those in the new guidebook. Sorry if that has produced any unwanted effects in logbooks!
bpmclimb - 11/Jun/12
New FCQ guidebook now available.
bpmclimb - 24/May/12
Where can I find descriptions for the new routes?
Tom F Harding - 19/Mar/12
UPDATE: several of the newer routes have now had a second lead ascent. Routes that remain unrepeated include: Dirty Nightingale E1, Pimlico E3, One Leg Over E3, Stuff that Works E2, Ender's Game E4, No Thea HVS.
bpmclimb - 15/Jan/12
A new guidebook is being prepared, which will be a stand-alone booklet covering FCQ. The following new routes are in need of a second lead ascent, to confirm the grade and allow their entry into the new guidebook without a dagger. Foldawaydildo VS 4c Dirty Nightingale E1 5b Pimlico E3 5c Dolly Dimple E1 5a One Leg Over E3 5c Stuff That Works E2 5c Talk to the Hand VS 4c The Early Worm HVS 4c Ender's Game E4 5c Capability Brown E2 5b Wee Brownie E2 5b
bpmclimb - 14/May/11
As of 13th July, there is access thanks to the BMC. There is a combination lock on the gate however, but to get the code you need to email Ian. See the BMC website for more :)
stuntsbyjon - 18/Jul/10
Went there mid Sep and saw the fence. Serious amount of money spent to keep people out. According to BMC, the landowner is trying to keep out motorbikes but has an access agreement with cavers. As BMC is working on our behalf, should we really be scaling the fence and angering the landowner?? Not in my opinion... leave it for a few months until we have an agreement in place.
Freddie 1 - 17/Sep/09
A nice mix of trad grades here, but make sure you either check the logs on UKC or have a good examination before you climb some of them - there are a few that are loose beyond belief. Some cracking slab climbs in the VS-E2 range. Doesnt suffer from much seepage. Agree that some of the descents are a bit "atmospheric", frequently abseiling down is the best option
jamespilgrim - 26/Jul/09
Fairy cave is great. Climbing is about adventure and it ticks all the boxes for me! I know most of the routes are overgraded, but i'm quite able to grade them myself. This crag is 40 minutes from home and a serious place, but my kids climb here and love it.
bazzag - 17/Dec/08
It is just a modern quarry, don't expect great things, but Lumbar puncture was a good if not slightly confusing line and Balch's slide is fun on the grade. The higher starred routes on the glacis look solid also but it rained!
John_Warner - 08/Jul/08
This is an awesome venue with some really good slab climbs. I would warn people about parking out on the road though. I climbed there yesterday and parked my car behind others on the side of the road. After a few hours we could hear a horn being sounded from the road so I returned to my car to find a huge truck needing to get past. I had left enough room for a car or small lorry to get past but had not envisaged that the lane would be used by articulated trucks! Make sure cars are parked well of the road to prevent your climbing being interupted by having to move them.
Peter - 15/Jun/06
Poped across from Salisbury yesterday for the day, at last a crag nearby that can be done in an evening. We started unpacking our gear then it started raining, so we poped into Shepton Mallet for a coffee and came back a couple of hours later and it was bone dry. Excellent place and a good range of climbs with no polish. It could do with some more traffic though there is alot of loose stuff around, but no worse than climbing in Swange. The Glacis area is a good introduction.
Rick Nash - 30/May/06
Didn't think the stuff on The Glacis was hugely overgraded, but soft touch - yeah. Slight of Hand is a couple of 5b (maybe v. low 5c) moves with definite deckout potential. Seems like e2 to me. Robs Crack is spot on for a VS. Worth a couple of visits at least.
SARS - 13/Jul/05
Oh, and the locals are apparently friendly too! ;o)
BenP - 20/Apr/05
A good fun place, but wear a lid - it's still fairy 'fresh' in the grand scheme of things. Stuff on the Glacis is usually pretty overgraded (especially the RH side), and Rob's Crack is way overhyped. Some routes are beginning to show early signs of polish. Still a fair few routes to be had if cheesy death is what you're after...
James Jackson - 03/Feb/05
great little crag with some very overgraded routes. Lumbar puncture is nice but only E1. Robs crack and four steps to heaven are great, the latter is only E2 5B. Whithy crack is good too but not for long!!! The routes on the glacis are all a real soft touch. Nice to be on it instead of under it though.
robbie warke - 24/Aug/04
Take care, still a fair bit of loose rock around.
BenP - 12/May/04
Stay clear of Harman's Tree as it is a terrible route. Rob's crack was originally given the strange grade of HS 5a but I think VS 4b is much more realistic. I would also like to nominate this as a three star route, I know that it is in a grotty quarry but I climbed this route yesterday and is is beautiful for every move of it's 100 feet. Just get down there and do it . [Unknown]
(Unknown) - 17/Apr/03
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Climbs at this crag

54The SocialistS 4a 296
55Balch's SlideHS 4a *945
56The ToryVS 4a 139
57Anty MatterHS 4b 203
58Running on EmptyVS 4b 52
59Ants in my Leg LoopVS 4b 72
60Elephant's BackHS 37
61Stuff That WorksE2 5c 18
62Comes the SethHVS 5a 106
63The Pleasure PrincipleVS 4c 25
64The ConS 4b *153
65The Conning TowerS 4a 36
66Back to BasicsVD *407
67Pelvic ThrustHS 4a 19
68Backing UpVS 4c 218
69Where's Blagdon?VS 4b 44
70Back OffE2 5b *313
71Bishop's MoveS 4b 68
72Talk to the HandVS 4c *175
73Travel BugE1 5b 47
74Your GhostVS 4b 9
75Landslide VictoryHS 4b 65
76I Like Big ButtsVD 12
77Grow Your Own WeekendE2 5b 71
78Halfway to KansasHS 4a 592
79Lumbar PunctureE2 5b *272
80Slip DiscE1 5b 7
81Epic-duralE2 5c 85
82My Own TrumpetE2 5c 7
83The Pretentious Bristolian AffairVS 4b 53
84Long Wait for FreedomVS 4b 2
85The Bristolian AffairVS 4b 50
86TobleroneE1 5b 227
87TruffleHS 4b 268
88Om PuriVS 4c 159
89Away with the FaeriesVS 4b 92
90Heaven Can WaitHS 4b 172
91Moving OnVS 4b 11
92Blue Nose, Blue ToesVD 63
93Bonner's RouteHVD 5
94Gatto sul Tetto.S 4a 7
95The Naked Civil ServantE1 5b 33
96Aerie Faerie NonsenseVS 4c 38
97The Early WormHVS 4c 41
98Fairy LitesHS 4b 15
99TinkerbellE1 5c 15
100Standing on the Shoulders of MolesS 32
101Standing on the Shoulders of MoronsVD 11
102Harman's TreeVS 4b 25
103Cassini DivisionE4 5c *24
104Moving TargetE3 5c ***198
105The Darkened RoomE3 5c 12
106The Darkened Room VariationE3 5c 2
107First UpS 4a 122
108Back in BusinessE2 5b 14
109Senile Taff CornerHVS 5a 35
110Senile Taff Corner Direct StartE1 5b 16
111Withy CrackHVS 5a **445
112Bad to the BoneE1 5b *269
113BonerE3 5c 7
114WessexyE2 5b 13
115Who's Yer (Biological) Daddy?VS 4c *29
116Four Paw DriveE3 5c *20
117The Hillwithy ConnectionE1 5a 16
118Bramble WhineVS 4c *209
119The MutantE4 6a *13
120Le FreakE1 5b 20
121PeanutsHVS 5a 53
122Lunar LandscapeVS 4b *334
123PuebloVD 269
124Divided SmearsVS 5a 12
125Ash Tree WallVS 4c 233
126CavemanVS 5a *391
127Jiggery PokeryVS 5a *281
128Glacial Point DirectE4 5c *11
129MisdirectionE3 5c 5
130Glacial PointE4 5c **121
131Slight of HandE2 5c *260
132Rain Rain RainE4 6a 10
133Lorna's LunchS 4a 270
134Real Men do Eat QuicheS 4a **309
135Six Little Fingers and Six Little ToesVS 4b 44
136Pocket Polka (alternative finish)HVS 5a 15
137Pocket PolkaS 4a 144
138Jive Talkin'E1 5b *207
139TswettE1 5b 9
140Minute WaltzVD 333
141Last Tango in OakhillE2 5b *57
142Strictly BallroomE1 5b *305
143Dan's DanceE1 5b 62
144RocketVS 4c 45
145Ender's GameE4 5c 13
146Songs from the ShedVS 4c 14
147Pocket PiranhaE6 6b 1
148Medicinal BreadVS 4c 3
149And The Rest Is F.L.Y.VS 4b 2
150The Randy ReceptionistXS 4a 2
151The Bastard Lovechild Of Henry JacksonXS 4a 3
152Twa CorbiesVS 4c 2
153No TheaHVS 4b 2
154Death WishVS 4a 6
155RIP Keef the Kittin, Poor lil' BuggerE1 5b 4
156Capability BrownE2 5b 10
157Wee BrownieE1 5b 5

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