Pex Hill Quarry, the popular Merseyside climbing venue is looking spick and span following a day long clean up which brought together local climbers and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) on Friday November 12.
The day started with myself, Steve from Haydock, Phil from Clockface and Bruce from Warrington helping out on the litter pick-up with equipment provided by Neil McMahon from the BTCV who are based at the Pex Hill Visitor Centre. They now have a litter pick up every Monday, so the quarry, which in April resembled a rubbish dump, was pretty well litter-free within an hour, especially when we were joined by reinforcements from the Liverpool Young Offenders Group, led by local climber Steve Boot.
We climbers then concentrated on clearing vegetation from the tops of the routes, many of which were choked with gorse and brambles. Bruce had his own specialist saw which easily sliced through the most stubborn shrubs, while Steve abseiled off Dateline Wall corner to tackle a tree at mid-height.
There is a very narrow path between the top of the quarry and the perimeter fence but this has become very overgrown in recent years, which means it can be hazardous for climbers setting up top ropes or topping out. BTCV have done a tremendous job clearing the tops above Rack Wall (revealing a few long-lost abseil stakes in the process) so we concentrated on clearing the path above Dateline Wall and Pisa Wall.
Much remains to be done, so there will be a futher tidy up in the Spring, time and date TBA.
Anti-social behaviour and binge drinking have been major problems in the quarry, with matters coming to a head (literally) in July 2009 when local man Les Jennings told the Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News how he was hit by a bottle while climbing at Pex Hill:
"150 rowdy youths had congregated there for a weekly rave. They were throwing missiles and insults in the direction of climbers, dog walkers and passers by," he said.
Things have improved this year following representations by climbers to Knowsley Council Anti Social Behaviour Unit (0151 443 2000). They raised the matter with Merseyside Police, who now patrol the area regularly.
The local Labour Party Councillor for the area is very keen on environmental issues and he can be emailed on email@example.com. The local footpaths officer can be emailed at Bernie.Maloney@knowsley.gov.uk, while Neil McMahon at BTCV can be emailed at N.McMAhon@btcv.org.uk or phoned on 0151 423 4433