Esoteric is the best adjective to use for Agden. The cliff isn't composed of gritstone but a coal measures sandstone formed by a landslip in the geologically recent past, which accounts for the blocky, loose and unweathered nature of much of the cliff. On the plus side, the setting is sublime and the cliff is almost always quiet. There are over 100 recorded climbs here but many of them are poor; loose, vegetated or downright dangerous. We have included a selection of the best and most popular. The routes have a big feel, which makes a nice change from much of the climbing on offer in the Peak, though be warned that you WILL encounter vegetation and dubious rock - so come prepared - some care is required to climb safely here.
Agden is close to the hustle and bustle of Sheffield, just northwest of High Bradfield. Follow the minor road of Brown House Lane north out of High Bradfield keeping left at the only junction. A short distance after this is a narrow lane on the left with restricted roadside parking - try to get as close to the wall as possible.
Follow the lane round the top of a steep-sided valley and down through the woods to locate the right-hand end of the crag up in the trees on the right - 5 minutes from the car. A right branching path that runs along the top of the cliff is a good option for getting to the far reaches of the crag (Great Wall, The Whittler etc) more quickly, descending a wide grassy gully located just before the point where a fence with a stile cuts across the path.
Updated and expanded edition of the award-winning Peak Grit East. Covers all the best routes on the eastern Gritstone edges of the Peak District - Wharncliffe, Rivelin, Dovestone Tor, Bamford, Stanage, Burbage North, Higgar Tor, Burbage South, Millstone, Lawrencefield, Yarncliffe, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Gardoms, Birchen, Chatsworth, Cratcliffe, Black Rocks
Although the crag is a bit on the overgrown side and it's chossy on top it's a really nice quiet place to climb. It could do with a clean, a bit more traffic, and a few more belay stakes at the top to simplify things a bit but with a bit of care it's a great place to climb. One other thing to note is that it's sandstone not grit and stated above. gethin_allen - 04/Sep/10
First visit to Agden Rocher today on a baking hot sunday. What a great idea is what to come here! I can only imagine how busy the more popular peak edges would have been but we saw only two other teams here all day. The trees provided a great amount of shade at the base of the crag and we got some quality routes done. Enjoyed the Whittler quite a lot. Will be making a return trip. tom290483 - 23/May/10
The unstable section at the right hand end of the crag is now rather more stable than it was, as the hanging block of death is now on the ground at the bottom! The remaining rock looks reasonably sound, but will need a while to settle down... Simon Caldwell - 07/Nov/09
I must defend the crag from this unwarranted attack!
OK, maybe not entirely unwarranted, the trees can be a pain, and the vegetation could do with some controlling (just more people climbing here would be enough).
But in all the times I've climbed here I've never had an trouble with green rock, and that's at all times of year from mid=summer to mid-winter.
The unstable section at the right is the result of a rockfall in the mid 70s. As long as you avoid the obvious hanging block of death, it's all perfectly climbable, and even the hanging block is probably more sturdy that it looks, it's lasted over 30 years so far! The New Foggy Dew is a particularly fine route in that area.
The main issue is lack of traffic. In all the times I've been there in the last 4 or 5 years, we've never seen more than one other team - and usually we have it to ourselves. So stop dissing the crag, you'll put people of going there! Simon Caldwell - 26/Oct/09
I write this almost as a crag obituary.In the early seventies we climbed five or six times a year at this crag. Yes it was a little loose in places and the rock a little friable. However the crag caught the sun and in winter could be a nice place to climb.I have visited today on a dry October day and find the crag all but overgrown, green, slippery, very loose and in the main unclimbable. The crag is not beyond hope but the main problem is the amount of tree growth on the crag. As most of the trees causing the green rock are either Oaks or old Yew I cannot see them being cut. The right hand end of the crag has a very unstable section which should be avoided for safety reasons.
As mentioned the crag is not beyond hope. If more people climbed at Agden, holds cleaned and there was some general tidying up ( Under direction of the correct authority)the crag may still be a lovely place to go with nice views and sunny aspect.Many of the belay stakes at the top of the crag are still servicable but the top of the routes are very overgrown. There are still one or two clean and worthwhile routes White Rose Flake still looks clean. However even the classic campsite crack is in need of gardening and would not currently rate its two stars. I am sorry to say I walked away from this crag and went to the pub instead.A sad day as many of my young climbing days were spent here. Marcus Tierney - 23/Oct/09
A somewhat forgotten crag probably due to some access problems in the past. A helmet is a must as there is loose rock especially on the tops. Worth a visit and the crag has nice views. Do not expect perfect rock ! Not a place for families at the bottom of the crag. Marcus Tierney - 22/Oct/04