BMC volunteer and uber-keen Yorkshire climber Paul Clarke recently raised the issue of trees encroaching on a number of buttresses and boulders at Brimham Rocks with the BMC access team. Thanks to his great local knowledge and enthusiasm, not to mention invaluable help from the National Trust ranger team who manage the site, a climber's work day took place last weekend to open up some of the climbing areas. Paul reports below on what happened on the (very successful!) day...
Over the years climbing experience in areas at Brimham Rocks has been changing. Many of the faces, pinnacles and blocks were once very open are gradually being overshadowed by large trees and other vegetation. On a recent visit some of the original pioneers were shocked by the disappearance of the rocks under the encroaching woodland. The National Trust had similar concerns, especially regarding the great number of large Silver Birch that have overgrown the rocks along the main edges. This was a chance to work alongside the National Trust to begin addressing the problem.
At a meeting between National Trust Ranger Catherine Barber, BMC Access Officer Rob Dyer and local volunteers it was confirmed that addressing these matters would work to the benefit of climbers, the NT and indeed all visitors. A working day was suggested for the 29th of September 2018 when, with the help of both the NT rangers and local volunteers, a big difference could be made to the climbing experience. This was advertised using local social media and other advertising.
On the day a group of approximately 30 people turned up and worked hard to return many of the locations between Cubic Block and Titfield Thunderbolt at Brimham to their previous airy and open state. Afterwards, the older climbers present said they hadn’t seen things looking so clear for decades!
Special thanks go to Catherine Barber and the other Brimham rangers whose preparation and support helped things to run so smoothly. It was great to see folk, both old and young, having such an impact and enjoying the day. You will find that large number of trees/branches have been removed and light can, once again, get into the rock and the woodland flora and fauna should also benefit from the wood stacks that were created.
There is still work to be done and it is hoped to hold similar events in the future. A likely piece of work would be to address the overuse of some areas where the ground vegetation has been worn away and they become muddy swamps in winter. Work in the Peak has identified the benefit of bringing in crushed stone to form a raised base and the BMC can cover the cost of similar materials here in Yorkshire if the local climbers are keen for further work days to place it in future.
WATCH: A clip of the work on Instagram from Will Hunt
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