Symonds Yat

Wye Valley & Forest of Dean

User attention

Updated statement issued by Forestry England 30th October 2023:

"Symonds Yat Rockfall update

On 8 August a major rockfall took place from the cliffs at Symonds Yat Rock. Since then, we have asked all climbers to avoid using the area and the areas directly below the rockface. We have also had to formally close the public right of way leading down from Symonds Yat Rock to the River Wye.

We immediately sought professional ground engineering and geotechnical advice from a private consultancy firm. The consultant inspected the rockfall site and further parts of Symonds Yat Rock. As a result of this advice, we ask that climbers avoid Symonds Yat Rock and we will be keeping the public right of way closed for the foreseeable future. This action has significantly reduced the assessed risk as much as possible, as advised by our specialist consultants.

An estimated 20 tonnes of rock fell from the cliff face, and had it not been for the rock capture fence, the damage below could have been significant. The rock capture fence was in place for incidents like this, but the size of the fall was large enough to severely incapacitate the fence.

Why are we asking you not to climb at Symonds Yat Rock?

Since August, there have been further rockfalls and so, on the advice of our engineering experts, we have closed the cliff face to climbers. This is for your safety and the safety of others. A closure has been issued by Natural England (case number 20231000023) and this prevents public access. This closure is in addition to the public right of way closure that is also in place along the footpath leading down to the river.  At the moment, we don’t know whether another rockfall will happen somewhere else along the cliff face and without mitigation strategies in place, we can't take this risk. 

Our next steps will be to carry out a full survey/assessment of the whole of the cliff face, and to get the fence repaired or replaced. We will also look at further rockface maintenance strategies.

We will keep you updated as soon as we know more and when expected timescales become clearer. In the meantime, we thank you for your continued patience and co-operation."



Note: The closure agreed with Natural England had an expiry date of the of 12/04/24, however this has since been extended further without an agreed end date. Negotiations are ongoing between Forestry England and the BMC, with every effort being made to open up climbing as soon as possible.

from 30/10/2023

Unquarried limestone escarpment in a picturesque situation above the River Wye.

Crag information
Climbing Area: South West & Southern Rock Type: Limestone
Importance: Regional CRoW Land: Yes
Ownership: Forestry Commission No. of Routes: 500
Within National Park: No Year Developed: 1958
Grid Reference: SO560155

As described in the 2010 CC guide, climbing at Symonds Yat is only permitted on the north-west facing cliffs - from The Introductory Rocks to the Final Zone inclusive.

Restrictions apply from 1 March - 30 June.

Reason: Nesting Birds

Peregrine falcons have established a nest since 2019 on Strathdon, in the White Wall.  Climbers should therefore avoid all routes from Motorway Madness to Night Nurse, inclusive, during the restricted period. 


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.  

Group Advice

Much in demand for group use, but though convenient for instructors it's less well suited to the needs of students. It also creates severe problems of eroded crag-tops, polished routes, and over-crowding. Commercial organizations are required to pay a fee for use of the site.

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Anonymous User
One of the trees in the introductory rocks area has toppled from the top of the crag and is currently hanging upside down. That is one less tree to belay from.
Anonymous User
There is a sign at the bottom of The Terrace saying thay there is very rare plant growing in the first pitch of Phizzog. A new acces is few meters to the right, starting at the base of the Russian and with grade VD.
Anonymous User
Pair of geece nesting atop of the pinnacle, on the river side. I climbed vertigo and the pair seemed okay, but I kept well away. Belay from ledge just below the top
Anonymous User
There is a notice in the Log Cabin Cafe stating that climbing at Introductory Rocks is closed due to unstable rock in danger of collapse above the northerly approach path.
Anonymous User
There is a BMC sign and fence erected by the Forestry Commission to prevent climbing Funky Gibbon and adjacent routes, Introductory Rocks, due to the risk of rock fall from the loose block on the crux of Funky Gibbon.
Anonymous User
Funky Gibbon area is fenced off due to unstable rock.
Anonymous User
Main car park closed. You can park in the car parks near the Saracens Head. We used the 1st one £6 coins only. Others may take card or phone payment. 2 cars parked in entrance to main car park - double yellow but out of the way and looked ok plus avoids walk up from Saracens. Funky Gibbon still roped off.
Anonymous User
Does anyone know if the introductory as area is open yet ? Thanks
Anonymous User
Symonds Yat: