Access round-up: January 2024

Posted by Team BMC on 25/01/2024
Boardwalk cave

BMC Access and Conservation Officer (England), Jon Fullwood, gives us the low down on all things access this January.

The BMC Access and Conservation Officer (England) is responsible for the maintainence and promotion of responsible access to the crags and hills of England, through direct landowner negotiations, volunteer coordination, and communication with the outdoor community.

To find more about Jon's work, read his January access summary below.

Bad weather keeping us mostly off the crags has meant a fairly quiet couple of months in terms of new issues arising. This bit of the year is always good for re-grouping and planning for a busy year ahead.

Burbage Southern Quarry, Peak Gritstone

Following very heavy rain during storm Babet a significant rockfall took place at the Southern or Cioch quarry at Burbage South.

Having liaised with the Eastern Moors Partnership in relation to a temporary closure of the affected area, a work party was organised by the BMC to clear some large loose blocks which still remained precariously in place. These have been safely and successfully trundled and the ledge above Trellis cleared of rockfall debris.

While the area will have to remain closed off for some time yet this work has ensured the closure period will be as short as possible.

New Access Reps – Avon and Northumberland

We’ve been pleased to welcome two new volunteer access reps to England areas. Ben Darby is now the access rep for the Avon Gorge with Colin Knowles becoming Chair of the SW area and Mark Kemball stepping down from that role. Ben has got straight to work organising a much needed clean up at the Gollums Cave bouldering venue, and organising the upcoming annual Avon Scrub Bash which is to go ahead on Sat 24th Feb. More recently Ella Farley has taken over from Steve Blake as access rep for Northumberland. Big thanks to Steve and Mark for all their hard work over the years.

Boardwalk Cave, Dovedale, Peak Limestone

Sad news to report from this excellent and recently developed hard bouldering venue. Despite its obscure and hard to reach location, some antisocial individual has found their way here and set a large fire in the back of the cave. This has resulted in the destruction of several climbs and a great deal of soot being deposited on the remainder. Only time and some planned cleaning work will reveal how extensive and permanent the damage is.

Dib Scar, Yorkshire Limestone

Natural England has reported pruning of branches by climbers to two rare Rock Whitebeam trees adjacent to sport routes.

Damage to the larger of the two may be responsible for the tree failing to produce berries last year. No doubt carried out in ignorance, this highlights the need to think twice before gardening and to gain an understanding of what species are going to be affected by any action. If unsure, stop and seek guidance.

Panorama Rocks, Yorkshire Gritstone

There is now an access arrangement in place with the owner of the 100 Eyes block for quiet low-key visits, so long as a phone call is made in advance.

See the RAD for details, click here to find out more.

Calderdale Windfarm Proposal

News has come in of early stage proposals for a major wind farm on the moors north of Widdop. Initial site maps are concerning as they indicate proposed mast locations very close to the rocks at both Scout and Dovestones. This is to be discussed further at the next Yorkshire Area meeting in order to decide exactly where we stand on this and how we might best influence decision making.

Have an access concern?

The BMC has voluntary Access Representatives in all of the BMC Areas. The reps offer a first point of contact for climbers or walkers with questions about local access. Click here to find out more.

If you're unable to contact your local Access Rep, please contact the relevant BMC access officer: Jon Fullwood (England) or Tom Carrick (Wales).

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