Altitude 227m a.s.l
Emma Homard on Just a Minute (E1) on Great Buttress at Wharncliffe. © Alan James
Tucked away northeast of the mainstream of Peak climbing, Wharncliffe used to have a rogue reputation owing to tough grades and its rather industrial location. The main section of cliff has routes across the grade spectrum and, although only up to 14m high, they are usually action-packed. The climbing tends to be steep and fingery, with many small sharp holds rather than the roundedness usually associated with gritstone. Many of the landings are awful, so make a point of getting an early runner in - small cams are especially useful here.
Wharncliffe was significant at the birth of British outcrop climbing with Jimmy Puttrell first scratching the rock here with his nailed boots in 1885. By 1900, Wharncliffe was probably the most popular cliff in the country, due to the nearby railway line. An article published in 1910 described 110 routes here. Nowadays Wharncliffe is a place to escape the crowds found elsewhere in the Peak. Strange to think that it is one of the few venues in the UK that is less popular now than it was 100 years ago.
The cliff flanks the eastern side of the Don Valley 10km north of Sheffield.
The Main Edge is most easily approached from the A616 Stocksbridge bypass taking the turning for Deepcar. The first left on entering the town from the north is Station Road and 400m down here is a steep left turn best accessed by turning around. A short distance up here is parking on the left. Parking on Station Road is also possible as the main spot is known for car crime. From either parking follow the track uphill through two tunnels (often muddy) under the railway line and across a cycle track. Continue to a large pool and turn right. The path rises out of the trees to arrive above the first buttress on the cliff. Alternatively turn right along the cycle track to a pylon where a steep path joins the other approach.
Long John's Stride, Cascade Buttress, The Bass Rock and Lodge/Ewden Buttresses are best approached from a minor road that connects the A61 and Grenoside to the A616/A629. Park at a small lay-by almost opposite a stone yard, about 1km south of the A616/A629 junction. From the parking, walk back up the road towards Grenoside to a bridleway on the right by two boulders. Go down here, keeping the wall and Wharncliffe Heath just on your left and ignoring any tracks veering off to the right. After about 1km you arrive at the edge. Turn south (left - looking out) and walk along the edge for about 200m to the top of Long John's Stride.
|My local crag I'm slowly working my way through every route left to right
Wsdconst - 09/May/15
|Excellent crag for beginners and experienced climbers
danrhodes1987 - 12/May/09
|Good crag. If your looking for a bit of solitude you may just find it here, except for the motocross bikes and the noise of the road.
Jonathan T - 02/May/04
|Wharncliffe is a great crag and provides a wonderful evenings soloing.
Michael birkby - 04/Sep/03