Anna Fedorova gives her insight and insider tips on the great range of sport climbing available at Tintern Quarry, which lies on the east bank of the River Wye, about two miles upstream from the cliffs at Wintour’s Leap. The quarry offers a range of walls to climb on, with sport routes of various degrees of difficulty. Thirty Foot Wall has a number of easier routes for the beginners, while the Jurrasic Wall has longer routes up to 40m in length. Outside of the main climbing areas, caution should be exercised, as loose rock can make these areas extremely dangerous. As always, exercise sense and caution in the understanding that climbing has risks.
…both beginners and more seasoned climbers, so it’s a nice crag to come to if you have a group with a range of abilities. It’s also very easily accessible.
What I liked most…
The range of climbing available is very appealing, and some of the taller walls look pretty inspiring. It’s much easier to follow where you are in the guidebook in this part of the Wye Valley than some other crags, and there are some good routes worth getting on.
What could be better…
Although the crag is very varied, it’s still a quarry, so you will miss out on some of the natural beauty of this part of the country – though the river is nearby, you don’t get to see it from the top of the routes. The bolting is not as bad as elsewhere in Britain, but still a bit sparse. The landowner has previously had issues with climbers, so if you are asked to leave at any point, it would be wise to do so as soon as is practical and with good grace.
Access and approach to Tintern Quarry
The postcode NP16 7JW will get you relatively close to the track that leads to Tintern Quarry. The quarry is a 10 minute walk down an easy track from the car parking spot, just off the B4228 road from Chepstow to Coleford (nowhere near Tintern Abbey!). The parking is limited, but there are no designated spots, so you will probably find somewhere to drop off your car even if it’s relatively full. From the parking, walk around a green steel gate and follow the straight track downhill until you see the quarry on your left. It’s impossible to miss!
This is a sport climbing crag, so you will need the usual sport climbing equipment. Since it’s a quarry, a helmet would be advisable, as the rock can be loose in places, as mentioned in the intro above. UKC has further more detailed information. The Jurassic Wall has some really long routes, a couple of which are 40 metres long, for which you would need a very long rope, but at least a 60 metre rope is essential if you want to do the longer climbs.
Best routes at Tintern Quarry
The Thirty Foot Wall is great for beginners, and there are some great harder routes on the Upper Strawberry Wall, but the Jurassic Wall is the one that looks the most impressive.
Where to stay…
We camped at Forest & Wye Valley Camping, Bearse Farm (GL15 6QU) It’s around a 20 min drive to the crag.
It was a nice camping place: cheap and friendly, with good toilet/shower facilities. They also have a shop that stocks quite a few of the essentials, and a cafe that serves very nice cooked breakfasts in the morning (they even had little Marmite sachets, which got me a little excited!). If you’re in a hurry though, you should pre-order, because it will take a good half hour otherwise, even if it’s not mega busy.
Beaches Farm Campsite is another great camping spot, which offers caravans for hire for a minimum of two nights, if this is what you prefer. Hurry if you want to book it, though, it tends to get pretty busy in the summer months.
Where to eat…
We ate at The George Inn in the very centre of St Briavels – a five minute drive or a 20 mins walk through the fields from the campsite we stayed at. A very friendly pub and the food is nice, with hearty portions and even some healthy options. They stop serving food at 8.30pm, and it would be advisable to book, but they were pretty accommodating when we arrived a little late as well.
Which guidebook for Tintern Quarry?
Lower Wye Valley – Climbers’ Club Guide to the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean Volume I
The guidebook isn’t always great, and often it’s very hard to work out which route you’re on, but for this crag it works fine. There are some newer routes available around the Wye area in general, which aren’t in the book, but they will often be on UKC instead, so worth checking both. UKC also has google maps directions to the parking spot which are great if you’re using your smartphone for navigation.
Hope that this is useful