Horseshoe Quarry

Central Limestone

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny the popularity of Horseshoe – it’s sheltered aspect and plethora of lower grade routes means that on all but the most miserable of days the car park will be packed out. 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. 

Crag information
Climbing Area: Peak District Rock Type: Limestone
Importance: Regional CRoW Land: Yes
Ownership: Private No. of Routes: 274
Within National Park: Yes Year Developed: 1982
Grid Reference: SK208761

The BMC has owned part of this popular sport climbing venue since 2005 (routes from Mr Cellulite’s Arete rightwards on the lower tier and from In the Jailhouse rightwards on the upper tier) and BMC land is actively managed for the benefit of climbers, walkers and conservation. Horseshoe varies from good quality, solid rock to significant areas of loose, hollow and blast shattered rock. Visitors should pay close attention at all times in case of loose rock and helmets are highly recommended whilst climbing or belaying.

In 2017, a re-bolting project took place on routes located on BMC owned land at Horseshoe to replace the old bolts and scale loose rock. The project replaced old fixed equipment of various vintage with new stainless steel glue in bolts, rationalised the bolt spacing on sport routes to reduce long runouts and standardised lower offs to double ring lower offs. A new lower off simulator has also been added to the large boulder below The Dust Bunnies on Main Wall to allow new sport climbers to practice re-threading rings before getting on the sharp end

19 routes were unfortunately decommissioned due to unstable or fractured rock which could not be scaled back to a solid state to place new bolts with confidence in their quality and strength. These routes have had their bolts removed and will not be re-equipped – we hope climbers will respect this decision.

Whilst this work has undoubtedly made the crag saferit has not and cannot make it completely 'safe'. This is still a quarried venue with blast damaged rock, subject to ongoing weathering and undoubtedly loose rock will develop again over time, not to mention all the normal hazards associated with climbing outdoors. It should also be noted that the areas of the quarry not owned by the BMC have not been re-equipped and there will still be old bolts which could be widely varying in age and quality. Whether re-equipped or not, assessing the quality of the bolts and rock they are placed in before and as you climb is still an essential part of the climbing experience at Horseshoe, as it is at any other crag.

Parking and Approach

Dedicated but limited parking is located immediately next to the A623. Please don't park on the uphill side of the turning circle - this needs to remain clear to allow others to turn and safely rejoin the road (which is often busy with fast moving HGVs) rather than being forced to reverse out. If the main parking area is full there are two laybys just up the hill which provide extra parking on busy days.

Rockfall has occured from the slope above the car park in the past, resulting in a number of blocks rolling into the car park. Cars are parked at your own risk at Horseshoe.

CRoW Information

Open access land, designated under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act (2000) give area access rather than linear access as provided by public rights of way. It also gives a legal right of access specifically for climbing, as well as walking and other quiet recreation on foot.

Please bear in mind however that the landowner still has the right to restrict access for up to 28 days per year (often used on public safety grounds for shooting in moorland areas), and can also apply for longer term restrictions with Natural England (such as bans on dogs, or regular restrictions during particular times of year). It is important to check for these restrictions regularly as they can be added at short notice – all details for open access land in England can be found on Natural England’s website.  

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