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