I recently had an email from a man called Jin, inviting us to Kilnworx Climbing Centre in Stoke for their new Women’s Club. We were very excited and went along to see what they have to offer at their inaugural Women’s Club Night. Here’s what we found out:
Kilnworx is a Social Enterprise. What this means is that it’s essentially not for profit.
It has a great feel and we could see from talking to Jin and the other staff and volunteers that they have big ideas for this place and they’re passionate about it.
It’s set in a church and some of the features (which you won’t be able to see yet, as it’s still under construction) are truly magnificent.
Kilnworx Climbing Centre Community Interest Company, Wycliffe Hall
Wycliffe Street, Burslem
Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 3ET
Their Women’s Club is every Tuesday. The opening night was really well attended with around 15 women, getting to know each other, finding new climbing friends and learning more about climbing.
What’s the best about Kilnworx…
What we loved: The Staff, the Slackline and the Setting. The staff were absolutely the best staff at any climbing centre we’ve been to. They made us tea to drink and really helped us to progress with our skills – check out our scores below and they say everything! The slackline is brilliant – a really good alternative to give you a rest if you need one.
If we could could improve one thing it would be…
The food/Cafe – There needs to be more sustenance for people coming from work who need proper food to power their climbing.
The Bouldering (but we know they’re working on that really hard!!).
|Value for Money||4||3||4||3||3.5|
Facilities: Clean toilets, no shower, Wifi in cafe area and nice seating, slackline and superb bean bags and seating in the main area, Conference-type room, which could be used for a class or warm up, lockers. What the centre lacks in facilities it makes up for in features – the building is really lovely. We’re really looking forward to seeing the other areas develop and the building being fully used.
Cafe: There are snacks such as chocolate and crisps available to buy. This isn’t really enough, as some of us were hungry having come straight from work. This would be a perfect project for someone who needs an interesting challenge. We’d love to see some really tasty nutritional food (maybe coconut bars, nuts, smoothies, juices, yogurt&granola???, as well as some hot food like chilli con carne or slag bol!).
Staff: As stated already the staff are very good, not only in person, but also on social media. We’ve had good feedback since our visit, about the women’s club. They help to push you and develop better skills, whilst being super friendly.
Value for money: This is a social enterprise. For that reason we’re happy to give a little more leeway in terms of our expectations. Once this is up and running in its totality, it’s going to be awesome, so watch this space.
Shop: No shop yet, other than a few bits behind the counter. We’re sure there will be one in time though (remember the tortoise and the hare??)
Events/courses: They do beginner/ introductory courses, Abseil taster sessions, refresher sessions and lead climbing sessions, all at prices which compare to other walls in the North west. In addition to this they always seems to have loads going on on social media to advertise kids sessions and teenage sessions and so on. They talked a lot about doing outdoors climbing sessions too. In all a good mix, well advertised and organised.
Route Setting: You would never know from our comments, but each of us came to blows with those walls!! The setting is hard – much more like outdoor grades than anywhere else we’ve been. If you climb 6b/c at Manchester, then get yourselves onto a 4a to warm up and then maybe work up to a 5b or 5c – it’s that hard! The moves are designed to be challenging and get you thinking about technique and strategy. We really liked it – it’s a challenge and a change. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
Climbing: Good range of overhangs, lead walls and top ropes, but not yet enough bouldering. We liked the bouldering wall and the stretch across – fun.
Conclusion: If you’re heading off to the Roaches and it’s wet, Kilnworx is the place to go. If you just want to climb indoors and fancy a change, it really is something different, with a totally different atmosphere to other walls we’ve visited.
Happy climbing and slack-lining