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UKClimbing Team

Climbs 164
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 179m a.s.l
Faces all

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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.  More recent fracturing obvious with plenty of fresh large boulders on start of some routes - tree roots on some faces accelerating the process.  New areas of breakaway obvious on faces by fresh pinky-orange stone.

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. Some parking down the hill by the beck on the junction.

Restricted Access

The BMC have secured access for climbers through negotiation with the landowner. There is a combination lock in place on the entrance gate and the gate should be re-locked behind you at all times. 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 of the access agreement.

Just had a great day out in Fairy Cave Quarry, if you head there bear in mind that the abseil tat at the top of both 'Caveman' and 'Real Men do Eat Quiche' are in really bad condition. I backed up the tat last time I climbed Caveman, 2 years ago and that piece, plus the original main bit of tat, is still there. When I go back, I will take some more tat to replace them, but it won't be for a few weeks, at least.
Paul at work - 18/Jul/18
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

Climb name Grade
  The Entry Wall
2 Little Prick VD 7
3 Rub-a-tyre E1 6b 4
4 A Quick Knee Trembler HS 4b 19
5 Foldawaydildo HS 4b 22
6 Gift to the Redundant VS 4c 6
7 Yet Another Bristolian Affair VS 4c 26
8 Daba Do HS 4a  
9 Summer Saturday Stroll S 4a  
10 Ice Tickles HS 4a 2
11 Rubble without a Cause S 4b 35
12 Dirty Nightingale E1 5b 12
13 Pimlico E3 5c 9
14 Good Intentions S 4a 33
15 Conditions of Entry HS 4b 4
  The East End
17 Dolly Dimple E1 5a 20
18 Dolly Dimple Direct XS 4c 4
19 The Radco Checkout Girl HVS 4c 1
20 Slideshow HVS 4c 6
21 Ten Minute ArĂȘte VD 90
22 Cookie Crumbles VD 29
23 Smell the Glove E1 5b * 450
24 Smell the Glove Direct Finish E1 5b 47
25 Rob's Slab E3 5c 24
26 Stepping Out E3 5c ** 71
27 Smelling Rob's Glove HVS 5a ** 1
28 Rob's Crack VS 4c *** 1983
29 Rob's Eliminate E2 5b 4
30 Four Steps to Heaven E2 5c *** 314
31 Six Feet Under E3 5c 5
32 Lippy Fairy E3 5c * 18
33 One Leg Over E3 5c * 12
34 Volume Eleven E3 5c ** 109
35 Seven Mile Throb E5 6b *  
36 Screech Owl E3 6a 1
37 Bollock Bomb E2 5c * 1
38 Dazed in the Summer E1 5b ** 1
39 Pylon's Slab E2 5b *  
40 Thatcher's Haze - First Half VS 4b * 5
41 Summer Daze HS 4b 401
42 Shabby Chic VS 4b 73
43 Demon Moves Mike E3 5b * 20
44 Life in Limbo VS 4c 65
45 Who Needs Hair Anyway? VD 118
46 Valerian Tremens XS 4c 14
47 Midsummer Madness XS 4b 4
48 Don't Even Breathe XS 5a 1
  The West End
50 The Alpine Ridge PD 399
51 Short Back and Sides S 4a 69
52 Odd Boots HVS 5b 144
53 Even Odder Boots HVS 5b 70
54 Back in Kansas S 4a 212
55 Back to Sandy Lane VD 249
56 Little Steve's Mersey Tunnel Affair S 4a 471
Climb name Grade
57 Equals Not VS 4b 216
58 Cristel Wall VD 489
59 I've Started So... VD 7
60 Nevie Noo VS 4b 37
61 The Duke of Cambridge S 4a 68
62 The Duchess of Cambridge S 52
63 The Socialist S 4a 467
64 Balch's Slide HS 4a * 1255
65 The Tory VS 4a 188
66 Anty Matter HS 4b 312
67 Running on Empty VS 4b 75
68 Ants in my Leg Loop VS 4b 82
69 Elephant's Back HS 41
70 Stuff That Works E2 5c 19
71 Comes the Seth HVS 5a 161
72 The Pleasure Principle VS 4c 36
73 The Con S 4b * 243
74 The Conning Tower S 4a 42
75 Back to Basics VD * 601
76 Pelvic Thrust HS 4a 36
77 Backing Up VS 4c 254
78 Where's Blagdon? VS 4b 55
79 Back Off E2 5b * 382
80 Bishop's Move S 4b 117
81 Talk to the Hand VS 4c * 228
82 Travel Bug E1 5b 57
83 Your Ghost VS 4b 9
84 Landslide Victory HS 4b 84
85 I Like Big Butts VD 17
86 Grow Your Own Weekend E2 5b 108
87 Extended Weekend HVS 5a 4
88 Halfway to Kansas HS 4a 834
89 Lumbar Puncture E2 5b * 343
90 Slip Disc E1 5b 9
91 My Own Trumpet E2 5c 9
92 Epic-dural E2 5c 102
93 The Pretentious Bristolian Affair VS 4b 73
94 Long Wait for Freedom VS 4b 3
95 The Bristolian Affair VS 4b 68
96 Toblerone E1 5b 312
97 Truffle HS 4b 386
98 Om Puri VS 4c 199
99 Away with the Faeries VS 4b 140
100 Heaven Can Wait HS 4b 234
101 Moving On VS 4b 15
102 Blue Nose, Blue Toes VD 109
103 Bonner's Route HVD 5
104 Gatto sul Tetto S 4a 8
105 The Naked Civil Servant E1 5b 41
106 Aerie Faerie Nonsense VS 4c 56
107 The Early Worm HVS 4c 67
108 Fairy Lites HS 4b 24
109 Tinkerbell E1 5c 19
110 Standing on the Shoulders of Moles S 34
111 Standing on the Shoulders of Morons VD 11
112 Harman's Tree VS 4b 27
Climb name Grade
113 Cassini Division E4 5c * 29
114 Moving Target E3 5c *** 237
115 The Darkened Room Left-hand Variation E3 5c 3
116 The Darkened Room E3 5b * 15
117 First Up S 4a 176
118 Back in Business E2 5b 14
119 Senile Taff Corner HVS 5a 51
120 Senile Taff Corner Direct Start E1 5b 15
121 Withy Crack HVS 5a ** 609
122 Bad to the Bone E1 5b * 327
123 Boner E3 5c 8
124 Wessexy E2 5b 13
125 Who's Yer (Biological) Daddy? VS 4c * 36
126 Four Paw Drive E3 5c * 21
127 The Hillwithy Connection E1 5a 17
128 Bramble Whine VS 4c * 253
129 The Mutant E4 6a * 13
130 Le Freak E1 5b 25
131 Peanuts VS 5a 58
132 Lunar Landscape VS 4b * 442
133 Pueblo VD 326
134 Ash Tree Wall VS 4c 268
135 Divided Smears VS 5a 18
136 Caveman VS 5a * 478
137 Jiggery Pokery VS 5a * 316
138 Glacial Point Direct E4 5c * 14
139 Misdirection E3 5c 9
140 Glacial Point E4 5c ** 151
141 Slight of Hand E2 5c * 315
142 Rain Rain Rain E4 6a 10
143 Lorna's Lunch S 4a 307
144 Real Men Do Eat Quiche S 4a ** 348
145 Six Little Fingers and Six Little Toes VS 4b 55
146 Pocket Polka S 4a 149
147 Pocket Polka Direct Finish HVS 5a 16
148 Jive Talkin' E1 5b * 256
149 Tswett E1 5b 10
150 Minute Waltz VD 411
151 Last Tango in Oakhill E2 5b * 88
152 Strictly Ballroom E1 5b * 369
153 Dan's Dance E1 5b 73
154 Rocket VS 4c 50
155 Ender's Game E4 5c 15
156 Songs from the Shed VS 4c 14
157 Pocket Piranha E6 6b 1
158 Medicinal Bread HVS 4b 2
159 And the Rest Is FLY VS 4b 1
160 The Randy Receptionist XS 4a 1
161 The Bastard Lovechild of Henry Jackson XS 4a 2
162 Twa Corbies VS 4c 3
163 No Thea HVS 4b 2
164 Death Wish VS 4a 5
165 RIP Keef the Kittin, Poor Lil' Bugger E1 5b 3
166 Capability Brown E2 5b 10
167 Wee Brownie E1 5b 6

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