Wye Valley 20/21st May

One of my favourite places to climb* the Wye Valley has loads of very pretty woodland limestone trad climbing and some surprisingly pleasant sport.

Getting the trip post up a bit early as it would be great to get a sense of numbers so we can book the campsite. And also because I’m off to Scotland for two weeks…

*In England

The Practicalities

Meet type: trad limestone single and multipitch, sport mostly single pitch.

When: Saturday 20th and 21st May

Location: Wye Valley, near Chepstow

Experience level: any. Lots of nice easy grade trad and sport routes - however, abseil descents are common for trad and rock quality and gear can be poor in places, so not necessarily the best option for doing your first leads.

Skills needed: lead belaying, ideally abseiling with a prussik backup

Equipment required: basic (helmet, harness, belay device, rock shoes) ideally some additional personal kit (prussik loops, slings, carabiners)

Sign up: Wye Meet 19-21st May - Google Sheets

Beeches Farm Campsite is currently the only practical way of getting to Shorn Cliff and a nice place to be - they provide fire pits (although you have to use their wood) and don’t mind group bookings.

There aren’t many decent pubs in the area for dinner on the Saturday - if the weather’s good cooking at the campsite might be the nicest option, but I can scout around.

The crags (stolen from Matt and edited where he was wrong)

Shorn Cliff
Concealed cunningly in the woods above Tintern, Shorn Cliff is mainly steep slabs and technical wall climbs (but there are exceptions, check out Tigers Don’t Cry!), single pitch and about 20-30m. Very good if you operate in the VS-E2 range. All trad, and often considered to have many ‘low in the grade’ routes. Currently only really accessible via the Beeches campsite while the bridge at Tintern is closed.

Wintour’s Leap
The big bad multi-pitch cliff of Wintour’s Leap looms above the murky Wye and occasionally (quite large) bits fall off. A pretty serious cliff but there are in fact a number of decent easy multipitch routes, a number of good VSs on Fly Wall, as well as the adjacent Woodcroft Quarry. Check the UKC notes for anything you want to lead to make sure it and any crucial pegs are still there, and that it’s still possible to get down again (some bits have abseil stations, some bits top out and walk round (there’s an Easy Way Down at about Mod grade)).

Symonds Yat
Can be a muddy hole in the ground after rain. That said, some nice routes at approachable grades (Vertigo on the pinnacle is a delightful Severe) in a slightly different setting to the other crags here, and there’s a cafe at the top that sells ice cream.

Wynd Cliff
Not to be confused with Wyndcliff Quarry Wynd Cliff has a right and a left crag each featuring generally steep trad routes up to about 35m across the grades including the classic VS duo of Cadillac and Questor but does have some suspicious rock quality/routes which no longer bear any resemblance to the guidebook description.

Wyndcliff Quarry
Sunny quarry - good quick-drying option after rain, can be busy with people who drop rocks off the upper tier.

Woodcroft Quarry
Sport routes of varying quality but some of them surprisingly nice. Some long routes at around 6a+ and entertaining low grade multi-pitch.

Ban Y Gor
Sport climbing! Steep blocky limestone requiring some burliness but rarely over 20m high (“short, steep and bouldery” says the guidebook…!). Average grades a bit higher than most of the other sport crags here - not that much below about 6b.

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What, how dare you!

I’m in. It is possible to book the Anchor Inn at Tintern. Although it is a rather long and uphill walk back to the campsite, the food was decent last time.

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Possibly not without the bridge… currently planned reopening date is ‘early May’ so fingers crossed!

That is a good point. Not really any other options!

I need to work on logistics but fingers crossed will be able to join for at least a day and possibly camping too.

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I am not entirely sure about this one yet.
I put myself down, for now.

I have a soft spot for the Wye…but I’ll be in the might Scotland* then!

*getting rained on

By soft spot you mean “only nearly died a couple of times on gearless loose under-graded Wintour’s Leap routes”


UKC Forums - Shorn cliff - bridge (ukclimbing.com)

Yah dis annoying

Having spent the day there today, a brief update on Symonds yat mud conditions.

The ground isn’t fully dry yet. In terms of how this impacted things:

  • the base of the crag seemed basically fine
  • the descent gully at the top end of the crag is still pretty muddy but having been up and down it multiple times it’s basically fine
  • the topouts can be a bit slidy still. Usually there are plenty of tree roots and trees - it isn’t like topping out of the ruckle when the ground is wet, or anything like that.

It’s mostly forecast to be dry the next week so it will hopefully be better by the time of the meet.

It’s not got that much depth of good routes, but my first revisit in a decade has reminded me that there’s some good routes there, plenty enough for a short visit. If you’re at the right grade to do Red Rose Speedway, Whitt or Orange Wall (I think it is - the direct above the start of Whitt), and fill the day with other stuff that gets a few stars, you’ll probably have fun!

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God, you should write Rockfax descriptions.

The mud on the walk in to Shorn Cliff was atrocious yesterday. Approaches to the base of routes quite treacherous but the routes themselves mostly fine. Should be good in 2 weeks if the rain holds off a bit.

I don’t know if I should be flattered or offended! :wink:

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He’s calling you God. I’d take that as a positive! :grin:


Just signed up. I can bring my pizza oven for food on Saturday night if there is no other plan? Will need a few hands to prep and cook, should take about 1.5 hours to cook all the pizzas. Would need a table for the prep.


Happy to help!

Update from The Forest…the rain certainly hasn’t held off, been pretty minging over the last week and ground saturated but still time to dry out, just bring a beermat for your shoes. Trees now pretty much full leaf so will take that bit longer to dry Shorncliffe.

I would join you all but will be in France, bad timing :frowning:

Not sure yet, have something on the Sat but may duck out. Also instructing till 7:30 at Castlle… When’s is the deadline for confirming camping?

Let’s say tomorrow - will give them a call when I get back from Greece.