BMC owned and managed sites

Posted by Rob Dyer on 31/03/2017
The Prow area, Wilton 1. Photo: Niall Grimes.

The BMC owns and manages a number of sites across England and Wales to maintain access for the benefit of all climbers and walkers.

These BMC owned crags are looked after by BMC officers in collaboration with groups of local volunteers who are able to visit and monitor the crags on a more frequent basis. These local volunteers play a crucial role in communicating any information back to the BMC office and also frequently help with important tasks like litter clearance, erosion control, path maintenance and route cleaning. The work of the officers and local groups is overseen by the Land Management Group (specialist volunteers covering legal, geotechnical and land management expertise) which provides advice on management of BMC owned and managed crags, as well as any potential future acquisitions.
 

BMC owned sites:

Crookrise

Location: North Yorkshire
Rock type: gritstone
351 Climbs
Originally developed: 1900
BMC owned since 2017

The BMC's latest acquisition, Crookrise was bought to ensure continued access for climbers and walkers after the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority looked to dispose of its land assets.

Wild and raw are characteristics that immediately hit you on your first visit to Crookrise – this is a place shaped by elemental forces and commanding a first class view of the stunning landscape all around. It is a climbers playground and a place of peace and solitude for those happier keeping their feet firmly on the ground. Either way you are never truly alone as the call of grouse drifting across the crag and scuffling of field mice through bilberry shows. Don’t expect ego massaging grades here, but the lines this crag holds are exceptional and well worth any and all extra effort invested. 

Wilton 1

Location: South Lancashire
Rock type: quarried gritstone
309 climbs
Originally developed: 1961
BMC owned since: 2009

The largest of the Wilton Quarries, Wilton 1 hosts some of the proudest lines around as well as the iconic feature - the Prow – a testament to the quarryman’s skill and a rite of passage for the Lancashire trad climber to repeat one of its routes. Acquired from United Utilities when the company disposed of a number of sites, the climbing here is arguably the finest in Lancashire. Thin cracks, sharp breaks and a glut of challenging routes make this quarry an excellent and convenient playground, with an even more convenient pub located on the road below.

Craig y Longridge

Location: North Lancashire
Rock type: quarried gritstone
Originally developed: 1983
158 climbs
BMC owned since: 2007

Top quality Lancashire bouldering venue – an unrelenting wave of overhanging grit frequented by the British Bouldering Team and former European Champion Ian Vickers - bring your biggest arms for a visit to this legendary Lancs bouldering forcing ground! Occupying an unusual position directly behind the gardens of a new housing development, this long, low crag is overhanging for most of its length, composed of fine quarried gritstone and beloved by regulars who appreciate its unique charms. 

Harrison’s Rocks

Location: East Sussex
Rock type: sandstone
Originally developed: 1926
380 climbs
BMC owned since 2009

Beautiful and unique rock architecture which provides challenging climbing across the grades is the stand out feature of this incredibly popular South East crag. The intricacy of movement its routes require and stunning woodland setting transport you into another world and it’s easy to imagine you’re a character in a folk tale long ago as you wander around below the crag.

Considered the jewel in the crown of Southern Sandstone crags by many locals, Harrison's offers a huge number and variety of routes and problems. After managing the crag and car park/campsite area on behalf of Sport England for many years, in October 2009 ownership of the crag was transferred to the BMC by Sport England. The car park area as well as the surrounding woods remain under the ownership of the Forestry Commission, who operate the car park and campsite on a pay and display basis in order to fund the continuing management of the toilet block and facilities around the car park.

Horseshoe Quarry

Location: Peak District
Rock type: limestone
Originally developed: 1982
321 climbs
BMC owned since: 2005

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny the popularity of Horseshoe – it’s sheltered aspect and plethora of low and mid grade sport routes means that on all but the most miserable of days the car park will be packed out. Following years of access problems, the previous owners (Tarmac) gifted this huge Peak District quarry to the BMC in 2005.

There’s more to Horseshoe than just climbing too. The blasting has uncovered some fascinating geology too like the fossilised coral on the floor of the quarry. Nature is gradually re-establishing itself over time with great crested newts, bee orchids and badgers just a few of the species you can find if you look carefully around this SSSI. 

Stone Farm Rocks

Location: West Sussex
Rock type: sandstone
Originally developed: 1943
199 climbs
BMC owned since: 2001

Another stunning SE venue, albeit usually considerably quieter than the nearby Harrison’s and part of the Ashdown Forest SSSI for it's geological interest features. As with all southern sandstone, leader placed protection cannot be used because of the soft nature of the rock and whilst this might be a little unusual for us trad obsessed Brits, you will quickly get into the top-roping zone and come to appreciate the fine climbing on offer. This is a great place to while away a lazy afternoon, ticking classics and basking in the sun as it dips over the treetops.

Aldery Cliff

Location: Peak District
Rock type: limestone
Originally developed: 1959
59 climbs
BMC owned since: 1984

Located near the quiet Derbyshire backwater of Earl Sterndale, Aldery is a little gem of limestone trad climbing that catches plenty of sun year round. Slabby pitches and the odd steeper offering provide fun lines from easy into mid-extremes in a lovely wooded quarry that is the very definition of roadside, whilst still maintaining a quiet ambiance just about anyone can enjoy.  

Tremadog – Craig Bwlch y Moch

Location: Gwynedd
Rock type: dolerite
Originally developed: 1951
191 climbs
BMC owned since: 1979

Craig Bwlch y Moch at Tremadog – or “Tree-mud-rock” to some folks! Yes there are trees, wonderful mature full grown oaks and ash; there is occasionally some mud after heavy rain but the soil holds many rare plants including a rare version of St John’s Wort; but the rock, the rock itself is exquisite Welsh trad climbing at its best. Classic routes across the grades abound in just about every style imaginable from brutal, delicate or scary right through to sheer, unadulterated, type 1 fun, gear swallowing perfection. Of course if all else fails, where else in the world can you be served post-climbing tea at a café run by an octogenarian, who was the first Brit to solo the north face of the Eiger and also part of the first team to fly a hot air balloon over Everest?

Watch: How to use Horseshoe Quarry on BMC TV

BMC managed sites:

Craig Pant Ifan

The BMC have a management agreement with the owners to maintain the access furniture, descent paths and stiles. If you encounter any faults. please report them to Elfyn Jones (Access & Conservation Officer, Wales).

Upper Pen Trwyn

The BMC is responsible for the bolted lower-offs on parts of the cliff. The lower-offs remove the necessity to enter crag terraces and areas of loose rock which present a safety hazard to visitors on the Marine Drive (c.500,000 visitors/year!).

Wilton 3 and Wilton 2 & 4

The BMC has secured a legal right of access for climbers to the three quarries adjacent to the BMC owned Wilton 1.


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From 10 July, many European destinations are opening up to UK travellers. This means that you can still have your summer adventure – from sport climbing in Spain to trekking in the Alps.

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Please be aware that there is no cover for cancellation, curtailment, delays or journey disruption in any way caused by or resulting from coronavirus / Covid-19. Read more about the Covid-travel FAQs here


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