Climbs 220
Rocktype Gritstone
Altitude 370m a.s.l
Faces SW

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Readza throws some shapes on Borstal Breakout. © Niall Grimes

Crag features

The superb castellated buttresses of Hen Cloud offer some of grit's finest crack climbs, and these include routes which are amongst the longest anywhere on grit. There are even some genuine multi-pitch climbs to savour. Perched above a steep bank, the positions are superb as is the outlook but, despite all these positives, the crag is rarely crowded. The climbs cover the grade spectrum and like the nearby crag of the Roaches, there is an excellent selection of lower grade climbs.

Despite facing south, the crag is inclined to be green and lichenous, especially on the left (because of the grass ledges) and as such is not a good destination after damp weather. The crag is very exposed to the wind, and will catch any precipitation carried on Westerlies.

Approach notes


Occasional bird bans, usually spring to early summer. See access notes below. Parking available in designated bays only beneath the crag; do not park outside of the bays in the restriction zone -- you will get a ticket. If it's really full, careful parking on the road is permitted outside of the restriction zone (back towards Upper Hulme).

The field next to the tea House is available for parking, the charge is £2 for all day. 

Access Advice

The footpath up to the centre of the crag is eroding in places, please try to walk on stones/boulders where possible. This whole area is vulnerable to fire in dry conditions and the ecology is sensitive.

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 26 March to 30 June

Reason: Nesting Birds

The climbing restriction extends from Nutted By Reality to Easy Come inclusive. Please also avoid walking above the restricted area of the crag.

Rockfax Digital

Available on Rockfax Digital

Rockfax Digital brings together all the Rockfax climbing information with UKC logbooks and presents it into a user-friendly package for use on Android and iOS devices.


Western Grit

The 2009 edition of the award-winning guidebook to Staffordshire, Kinder, Bleaklow, Chew, Lancashire and Cheshire areas covered with photo-topos and descriptions.
This really is a fabulous crag, and often over-looked in favour of its more famous neighbour the Roaches. Quality routes on solid rock in a beautiful setting, away from the crowds and outdoor instruction groups. Some great 3-star routes including Delstree, Central Climb, Encouragement, Hen Cloud Eliminate, and probably the best HVS route I've *ever* been on - Bachelor's Left-hand!
Nick Smith - 12/Jul/04
Just got back from Hen Cloud and am very impressed, quality of rock is excellant and there's hardly anyone ever around, just one problem, those bastard midges, they bite and itching is unbearable, i look like i've got measles, so insect repellant is a must, Happy Climbing!
Adam Waszkiewicz - 28/Aug/03
Great Chimney 18m (Eliminate Area)- is a fantastic route for those learning to lead.(***) Easy to advise on gear placements from top or bottom, plus the magnificently formed chimney structure makes it stand out from any other S grade climb on gritstone that i can think of. I just wish it was longer!
Max Linnemann - 08/Feb/02
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Climbs at this crag

Name Grade Stars Type Logs Partner Ascents
These climbs you have climbed clean.
These climbs you have climbed by seconding or top-roping.
These climbs you have Dogged.
These climbs you Did not Finish.
Climbs are waiting to be checked by a crag moderator, and may not be accurate. Climbs can't be verified by a crag moderator, and they need more information to confirm it. Climbs are no longer climbable.

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