Altitude 179m a.s.l
BenP solo on Jive Talkin', E2 5b, Fairy Caves Quarry © James Jackson
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.
SAFETY NOTICE (August 2020): the small tree atop the half-height Back Off slab is reported as being in the process of rotting and, despite still having foliage, is probably increasingly less secure as a belay - make your own judgement. Six routes potentially affected: Backing Up to Travel Bug.
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.
June 2020 COVID-19 update: The quarry is reopening for climbers from Friday 5th June. There are some important issues which all climbers must take into consideration if we are to maintain our access agreement.
1. Parking is very limited with a maximum of 7 or 8 car spaces. With the current Covid19 rules many climbers will be arriving separately meaning there will be more cars than usual. PLEASE DON’T CREATE AN OBSTRUCTION TO PASSING TRAFFIC. Large articulated lorries and farm vehicles use the lane. Any complaint to the landowner would seriously endanger our access agreement.Please climb somewhere else if the parking spaces are full. You could try Portishead Quarry for slab climbing, Cheddar or Avon.
2. During the Covid19 crisis any accident involving emergency services including Police, Ambulance, Cliff Rescue and NHS services could jeopardise our access agreement. (See the messages from rescue teams on UKC and social media about the additional difficulties they are facing at this time.) It is important to minimise risks as much as possible. Climb routes within your capability and avoid routes which are obviously loose. Unfortunately many of the easier routes in the quarry have loose rock and are not ideal for beginners or inexperienced trad climbers.3. Every effort should be made to ensure social distancing. It is worth using hand sanitiser after operating the gate lock.
4. Ash dieback is affecting trees throughout the Mendip area including in and around the quarry. This condition can seriously impact on the strength and reliability of even large trees. Wherever possible back up Ash trees used as belays and runners. An inspection of all tree belays and runners will be carried out in the near future.It is the responsibility of all climbers to act sensibly and maintain our access agreement. The combination remains the same. If you need the code email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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.
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