Climbs 252
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 378m a.s.l
Faces E

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Bridget Collier heading up the steep flowstone on Pwll Du Crack (5c) on the Main Wall at Gilwern © Mark Glaister

Crag features

Gilwern is an old limestone quarry working, set high up on the edge of moorland overlooking the Black Mountains to the north.


NB Gilwern Lower - major rockfall mid way along crag affects a number of routes/Mons council currently assessing impact on Pwlldu Rd and cliff stability/Pwll Du rd closed to  foot/cycle/cars. approach from Gilwern mast or walk up station rd. 

 The quarries are not very high but have some good little patches that are well bolted and very popular. The grades span the 5s and 6s, the highlight being the lines on Gilwern Main Wall's covering of flowstone and the compact technicalities on offer at Gilwern East.Included in the Rockfax South Wales Sport guide. Since 2020 a new Guide to THE GILWERN AREA has included the extensions to Gilwern Lower and Tyla quarries along with Gilwern-In-The-Woods, Topdeckio and Secret Gallery. The quarries are both exposed to wind and rain, but are good spots in warm weather, having pleasant bases and expansive outlooks over the Usk valley and the Black Mountains.


Gilwern Main 17/07/21 - Loose hangers - Jug Fest - first hanger and one of the lower off hangers has 'finger loose' hangers. If you have a spanner, might be fine

Gilwern Main 08/06/21  - Loose Bolt - Nose Job or other route nearby Flow job   Please be aware of a report of a loose glue in staple bolt, most likely on Nose Job but somewhere in this area where there's glue ins   Please pre inspect these routes and check the bolts/fixed gear before attempting the routes in this area for your safety  

Gilwern Lower 01/06/19 update - Its Been  GoodYear  6b+  - reported 1 metre square loose block in the upper part of this route is dangerous/best avoided. Agreeed by a 3rd party climber. Next 02/06/19 update  Brian BPM Has checked and cleaned this loose flake/block(?). To reach the satisfactory anchor across the rock scar is awkward and 6c/6c+ (possible new grade for the route ?). Bolting is out of line and bolts should be checked with a visual check for the rock scar which will probably be loose. Be Cautious in and around this route and inspect it fully to ensure your safety. 

21/07/2020 - J Jones stated - theres  a large loose block near Scorpion at Gilwern East. It may be on that route or either side. So caution around these routes.

08/07/23 - Bird of prey nesting immediately to the left of Ivor biggun, looks like a Peregrine Falcon at a glance and there are chicks in the nest as of this morning, potentially need to add seasonal restrictions to Gilwern West?


Gilwern East The satnav took me the wrong way to the dead end roads! The belays are an atrocity! Stainless steel with single steel linksb which, apart from not being compatible materials result in horrendous twisting of the ropes. These badly need to be replaced with stainless links and rings by the equipers. Then many of the hangers don't have the correct amount of bolt showing. This should be at least 3mm. Probably the 2 best climbs are missing the hangers which made route finding difficult. A completely pointless thing. Apart from this the climbing is ok.
RD - 27/Jun/22
Tyla Quarry (Gilwern East?) - definitely recommend helmets for anyone near the wall. Had a big fall when two big flakes gave way while I was pulling up on them, one of them dropping dangerously below.
tdavidson - 27/Apr/21
There are two parking places marked on the map here - the northern one is completely inaccessible to cars, with all three roads closed and blocked by gates. Can it be removed from the map? Would also recommend approaching the southern parking space from the south/Blaenafon as otherwise your sat-nav may try to take you down the closed roads.
tdavidson - 27/Apr/21
GILWERN EAST: A lot of the lower offs are a little suspect - two rusty maillons, often at least one of which is a very thin one and I would assume probably too thin to be rated. Some of the hangers look homemade and are a bit loose as well. Generally still climbable and the bolts themselves looked fine, but worth checking your comfort levels with the gear that is equipped before you make the decision on lowering. You also need to be able to tie off using the method where you don’t pass a bite through the lower offs, as there isn’t space. This was a problem for at least two climbers who got anxious when realising they didn’t know what to do whilst we were at the venue today, so definitely drill this one with new climbers BEFORE they leave the ground :-). Finally, helmets are a MUST. Lots of loose crap at the top of the routes, which is a real shame as the first 75% of most of the climbs are really, really worthwhile. All that aside, I really like this venue as a good place for 6’s - but I would like it more with lower offs that didn’t pigtail my rope and make me nervous when swinging around to clean routes 😃
leburnett88 - 05/Sep/20
bolts removed from Half Pipe Dream 6c*** and Sidewinder 6b+*** !!! A real shame, presumably due to trad/sport arguments...
badgerjockey - 09/Jun/19
A bit of a mixed bag. The rock is fairly brittle in places but certainly enough good routes to make the place well worth a visit. "Walls have ears" is really good
Xavierpercy - 20/Sep/17
Great crag, thanks to everyone who has put in bolts and climbed lines, even though it is congested it is great.
stevethomas - 10/Aug/17
Dead sheep under the left wing of this crag, which is just starting to decay. Smells pretty bad :(
bpmclimb - 01/Apr/17
Great little crag in an idyllic setting
Paul Robertson - 17/Aug/16
Great crag in a stunning location. The rock is generally excellent and the routes on the whole are well bolted. Good on hot sunny days as it faces east.
Xavierpercy - 17/Aug/16
New bolt put in just after this post
Paul Bowen - 04/Oct/14
Currently the route, Christian broke my flake 6a+ on the main wall has a very dodgy 3rd bolt that is close to falling out and is best avoided.
Jamie Skelton - 07/Jun/14
Does anyone know if it is possible to set up top- or bottom-roping at Crag X Gilwern Hill? Me and a friend are just starting climbing outdoors and have not learned to lead yet. Thank you.
marcjospeh - 07/May/14
See picture/topo in picture section
Levi - 10/Jun/12
There appears to be 2 new routes added to an isolated butress somewhere near the main wall, please add the details to the route list whoever equipped them. thanks Paul
Paul Bowen - 22/Apr/12
Amazing to think that I used to be able to see this crag from my office window! And then moved about 6 months before the routes went up! Really great place to climb - loved it.
Tom Hutton - 18/Jul/10
Had a look at this site today as I was up for a wedding. Started on Jug Fest just as the heavens opened! It got very wet v quickly so sadly packed up and trudged back to the car but loved the location and the work that's gone into setting up the climbs. Brilliant. Can't wait to come back.
vsheriff - 19/Jul/09
Another great day out at a Paul Bowen creation. Very windy. Looking forward to returning to get the b*!!&tard 6b which I bailed on. Thank you Paul, it's much appreciated.
gramee - 09/Jul/09
Just had a great morning on this great new valleys crag. Still a few snappy holds here and there but far less than I was expecting to be honest. Big thanks to Paul Bowen, Paul Tucker and others for all their efforts.
richtea21 - 10/May/08
Thanks for all your work Paul. Really enjoyed the new routes in glorious sun last w/end. cheers
benjaminhills - 15/Feb/08
Much respect and appreciation for all the hard work work put in to make this old quarry a top spot - whatever the weather... Nice one Paul...
pinnochio - 03/Feb/08
Well worth a visit. Generally sound rock and technical routes.
DafSWMC - 07/Oct/07
have just added 7 more routes to the short wall 250mts before the main crag, will be updating later with all the info on grades/descriptions photo topo etc.
Paul Bowen - 08/Sep/07
Visited while in the area. Nice climbing, especially the central main section with some lovely flowstone pipes. The rock does need to clean up a little. Grades seemed about right. Cheers!
richardr - 02/Jul/07
very good place to climb in the afternoon been a few times go at least once a week injoy it very much progressing up to climb the 6+ now..........
Tunell - 05/Jun/07
just been updating the route descriptions, hope it makes things better, still have to name most of the routes, it's not that easy..
Paul Bowen - 31/May/07
just submitted photo topo of short wall 250 mts before main crag should be online in a day or so
Paul Bowen - 23/May/07
Have done photo topos for main wall and right wall still to do topo for short wall 250mts before main crag... grades are roughly.. 6b 6c 7a 6a from l-r as you look at the wall
Paul Bowen - 08/May/07
Paul - can you send details when you've done? Cheers Goi
goi.ashmore - 07/May/07
I do intend to get a photo topo done with all routes listed and graded very soon.
Paul Bowen - 21/Apr/07
did my first outdoor climb today, the small walls were shit loads of fun, looking forward to progressing onto the big one!!
rich232 - 20/Apr/07
all fixed gear now replaced, and a new route added far left side at 4+/5..... 2nd april 2007
Paul Bowen - 02/Apr/07
somebody has stolen a substantial amount of the fixed gear, will endeavour to replace it asap.. bast@rds Paul Bowen
Paul Bowen - 30/Mar/07
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