Pontesford Rocks

West Midlands

Good local outcrop.

Crag information
Climbing Area: Midlands Rock Type: Igneous
Importance: Local CRoW Land: Yes
Ownership: Wildlife Trust No. of Routes: 43
Within National Park: No Year Developed: 1949
Grid Reference: SJ409047

The crag is within Earls Hill Nature Reserve which is managed by Shropshire Wildlife Trust. The Trust have a positive view of climbing here providing that people are sensitive to the ecological interests of the site. In particular the scree slopes should be treated with care. No camping and no fires, please.

The 'Fifty Foot Wall' routes were cleaned up and extensively restored in early 2013, with the intention of giving climbers an alternative area if (as often happens) Peregrines choose to nest on the main crag. Feel free to go try these - you might actually like them...

In late 2013, the Wildlife Trust undertook some further vegetation clearance work, mainly of invasive trees on the scree slopes, but also of scrub on the rocks. The intent was to improve the cliff environment from the climbers' point of view, as it will allow more light and air to dry the rocks better.

Restrictions apply from 4 March - 15 July.

Reason: Nesting Birds

Peregrines normally nest at Pontesford Rocks each year, with the nest site changing slightly from year to year. Site notices are normally placed on gates on the access track, and near the foot of the crag showing the extent of agreed restrictions, but as a general principle please avoid the whole crag (Main Buttress, The Needle and the Fifty Foot Wall) during the restricted period.

In 2020, we attempted to find a way to permit the use of some routes whilst closing others, but a number of incidents occurred which meant this was not really workable. This included one party who apparently abseiled right over the ledge with the nest and caused considerable consternation to the birds.

The Shropshire Wildlife Trust, The Shropshire Peregrine Group and the BMC would like to thank all climbers who have avoided the rocks during the 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 nesting seasons. There appear to have been chicks raised successfully in each of those years.
In early 2024, the birds have been seen prospecting the site once again, and it looks like they've selected the same nest location that they've used successfully for the last couple of years - it is therefore necessary to impose the same seasonal restriction as mentioned above between early March and mid July.

Parking and Approach

The car park at the north end of the hill (which provides the only real parking place for the crag) is now being closed between 8pm-8am in an effort to combat anti-social behaviour. This leaves only extremely limited parking outside of the gate for any climbers, walkers or fell runners who want to access the crag and its surroundings outside of these times. It is perfectly possible to walk from a number of parking spaces in the village of Pontesbury just over a mile away, so allow roughly half an hour if this is necessary. The advantage to this arrangement is the presence of 2 or 3 local pubs in the village.

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

Small groups (pairs, etc) of climbers are welcome to continue using the crag, but it would be appreciated if larger groups could find an alternative to Pontesford Rocks, as the site is fairly restricted in size. Please leave no litter (and pick up anyone else's), no fires, no camping

Area information

Weather Information

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Anonymous User
Hi there, the crag is definitely active with nesting birds (20th May 20), so would suggest it’s entirely avoided for now, Rob
Bird restriction update. I think the restrictions should be extended to the whole of West Buttress. We went up today to do West Wall and the nesting peregrines were very agitated as we walked in. Consequently we turned around and went for a walk. We were rewarded with an aerial battle between the peregrine and a kestrel! Will wait until chicks have fledged before returning.
Anonymous User
Climbed some routes on the needle on 6th June 2020 for an hour or two. There is a single peregrine who was very vocal and active but never seemed to be alarmed by our presence. Signage on approach and at the crag is very confusing as to where you can and cannot climb.
Anonymous User
Visited today for a walk and the peregrines were alarmed by our presence walking AT THE SUMMIT. No climbers at the crag and they were still vocal.