Altitude 267m a.s.l
"Pensioner's at play" he said © Josh Willett
Birchen remains one of the most popular venues in the Peak due to its friendly atmosphere and good collection of low-grade routes. The place has always been a favourite with groups and this long-standing popularity has led to the wearing of many of the already rounded holds. Quite a number of the routes have slippery and awkward starts but get yourself going and things often ease rapidly with height. Summer weekends can be extremely busy, but if you leave the main section and head rightwards to the more secluded buttresses, you will probably find a bit of solitude.
The majority of routes at Birchen have names of a nautical nature linked to the monument on the cliff top, erected to celebrate Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar back in 1805.
Birchen runs along the crest of the moor 3km east of Baslow Village. The usual approach is from the National Trust car park by the Robin Hood Inn, though on busy days the field across the road is also available. Walk up the road to a stile on the left and a sandy track that leads to the rocks in 10 mins. Keeping left at the only fork leads straight to the main section of cliff, whereas heading right leads towards Kismet Buttress. It is possible to approach from the Gardom's parking spot.