COVID-19

As the Covid-19 lockdown eases, access for climbing is opening back up, subject to some measures and restrictions depending on where you are going. Please make sure you have read and understood our current advice before heading out and apply it alongside RAD advice to ensure access issues don’t develop.

Fairy Cave Quarry

Cheddar Area

User attention

There have been several rockfalls over the winter but these are obvious and the routes involved can easily be avoided. A visual check before starting is essential.

Ash dieback is affecting trees throughout the Mendip area including in and around the quarry. This condition can seriously impact on the strength and reliability of even large trees. Alternative belays are being fitted but in the meantime Ash Tree belays and runners should be backed up wherever possible. It is important that every climber inspects the fixed equipment they use to ensure they are satisfied with its security. This article has more information on ash dieback and how to identify trees that are affected.

from 28/04/2021

A large disused limestone quarry featuring a good selection of naturally protected 40-45m high slabs which tend to be quick drying.

Crag information
Climbing Area: South West & Southern Rock Type: Limestone
Importance: Local CRoW Land: No
Ownership: Private No. of Routes: 93
Within National Park: No Year Developed: 1992
Grid Reference: ST657476

The BMC has negotiated with the landowner and secured an access agreement, but this is dependent on the continuing responsible behavior of climbers.

Local cavers have an agreement with the landowner to manage recreation in the quarry through the Fairy Cave Management Committee. They have been extremely supportive of climber’s efforts to secure access and without their support it is unlikely we would have been successful. Mark Courtiour (BMC Access Rep) has been co-opted onto the Management Committee but the cavers have overall responsibility for recreational use of the quarry.

Maintaining our good relationship with the cavers is important, as is following a few simple points within our access agreement:

  • Take all of your litter and any you find away with you to dispose of responsibly.
  • Responsible parking is essential to maintain access - see the 'parking and approach' section below for more information.
  • The only people with permission to be within the fenced area are cavers and climbers. If you find other people in the quarry please ask them to leave.
  • Parts of the quarry could be unstable and potentially dangerous for the unaware. In particular young or inexperienced climbers should be closely supervised at all times.
  • The quarry forms part of a larger SSSI and European SAC (Special Area of Conservation). Natural England are monitoring the rare flora and fauna within the quarry so avoid removing any vegetation without checking with the local Access Rep or Access Officer first.

Descents:

Movement around the top of some areas of the quarry can be difficult and local climbers have established abseil descents from all popular areas. Please do not remove these fixtures. Most lower offs/abseil points have been renewed and stakes have been installed above Robs Crack and Lumbar Puncture/Epic Dural. As always with fixed equipment, be sure to thoroughly inspect all parts of an anchor before committing to using it.

  • The best abseil descent (easier to pull through) from the Robs Crack area is from a pair of stakes with wire strops and maillon situated above Who Needs Hair Anyway i.e. next to the Hawthorn bush on the crag edge about 50m left (facing out) of Robs Crack.
  • A strop and maillon have been added to the stake above Halfway to Kansas/Lumbar Puncture, another above Balch's Slide and another above Senile Taff Corner to facilitate abseiling.
  • All routes in the Glacis area have lower offs in place.
  • The Alpine Ridge can be ascended/descended as a relatively easy but exposed scramble.

Parking and Approach

Parking is difficult and requires climbers to park very carefully to avoid obstructing passing traffic, which includes large articulated lorries and farm vehicles. Any complaint to the landowner would seriously endanger our access agreement.

There are a couple of places where cars can be parked well off the road but one is a gate into a field which must remain unobstructed. A few hundred metres northwards along the lane is a junction where the road widens and it is possible to safely park several cars. The OS map for the area makes it easy to identify a network of footpaths to use instead of having to walk on narrow lanes.

There is gated entrance and details of how to use it can be found here. It will be the responsibility of all climbers and cavers using the combination to ensure the code does not escape beyond the two communities as if this were to happen, access would be at risk.


 

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Anonymous User
12/05/2020
Help us to keep access to Fairy Cave Quarry by not climbing there, unlike the 5 on 8 May and those arriving at 9.15am on 10 May. The Chair of the Management Committee reminds us that the quarry is closed to cavers and climbers.
Anonymous User
12/09/2021
Is the quarry closed or open? The previous comment is confusing, as it was posted after the info on rad was updated