Agreement Reached at Llanymynech

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 04/09/2010
Black Wall by Mark Glaister

An agreement has been reached for climbing at Llanymynech, involving the BMC, local climbers and the Montgomeryshire and Shropshire Wildlife Trusts.

After some concerns regarding new routing activity, liability and possible damage to rare plants, an agreement has been reached to allow continued climbing at Llanymynech. 

Arguably the most important climbing venue on the Welsh border and West Midlands, Llanymynech has become exceptionally popular due to a combination of ease of access, quality sports routes and a sheltered location. However the whole site is also nationally important for its nature conservation and historic and archaeological interests. This is why it’s a designated nature reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, managed by both Montgomeryshire and Shropshire Wildlife Trusts.
 
Serious concerns had been expressed by the Wildlife Trusts that climbers were developing new areas outside of the historical agreement, and of real worries regarding their liability on the Cream and Bay Walls parts of the reserve. Bolts had been removed from the Foreigner Wall area due to worries that protected vegetation below the wall could be damaged, and vegetation had been cleared from an agreed no climbing area to the east of Red Walls.
 
Following a very positive meeting arranged by the BMC, involving local climbers and activists (including Gary Gibson and Nick Dixon), BMC Access Officer Elfyn Jones,  BMC access volunteers, and the Wildlife Trusts, an agreement has now been reached to allow climbing to continue at this venue. 
 
In brief, the agreement states that the Wildlife Trusts welcome climbers onto the site, but subject to a number of reservations. Chiefly these are that there should be no new routeing, vegetation clearance or bolting without prior discussions with the Wildlife Trusts, the no-climbing areas east of Clematis on Red Walls should be observed, as should the seasonal restriction on climbing on Black and Red Walls due to nesting peregrines from March 1st until June 30th.
 
Due to liability concerns Montgomery Wildlife Trust cannot officially give permission for public access (including climbing) to Cream and Bay Walls, but understand that climbers are likely to continue to use these areas, and in doing so are willingly accepting the added risk from unstable rocks. The signs stating “no public access” to these areas will remain and climbers going past these signs are knowingly and willingly accepting the risks from unstable rocks in these areas (there have been recent rock-falls affecting some routes in these areas).
 
The full agreement (currently in draft form) can be seen on the BMC Regional Access Database entry for Llanymynech.
 
At Foreigner Walls a further site meeting will be arranged to agree on which routes can be re-bolted and to work out details of a variable seasonal restriction on some routes on this wall, to protect the rare plants (mainly Bee Orchids) that sometimes grow at the base of this wall.
 
It goes without saying that it’s imperative that all climbers using this venue adhere to this agreement, and BMC are grateful for the cooperation and support of both local climbers, key activists and in particular the Wildlife Trusts for their part in negotiating this agreement.


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