4 of the top 10 UK climbing crags for beginners are in North Wales

4 of the Uk’s top 10 British sport Climbing crags for Beginners are in the North Wales region.

  1. Trevor Rocks, above LLangollen in North East Wales
  2. Castle Inn Quarry, near Colwyn Bay in North Wales
  3. Dinorwig slate quarries: (Australia Area), Llanberris in North Wales
  4. Llanymynech limestone quarry, near Oswestry North Wales

These 4 sites offer a great array of challenges for beginners looking to take a step into the climbing world.

Trevor Rocks, above LLangollen in North East Wales

A stunning setting overlooking the Upper Dee valley above Llangollen in North East Wales. Again, it’s an old limestone quarry. Over 150 climbing routes line an embankment with tremendous views over the remains of Dinas Bran castle, a medieval Welsh fort.

With over ten separate climbing walls on a south-facing escarpment there’s something for every aspiring sport climber here. The left side of the cliff sometimes has nesting falcons and may be subject to access restrictions during spring and early summer.

  • Where: A stunning setting overlooking a picturesque Welsh valley
  • Park: Parking area on a hairpin bend on the Panorama Drive above Llangollen (map reference SJ229433)
  • Guide: Clwyd Rock by Rockfax (currently out of print) and topos can downloaded from  www.sportsclimbs.co.uk
  • Best for: Amazing views and easy-angled climbs
  • When to go: Sunny days – very exposed so don’t go on cold, windy days

Castle Inn Quarry, near Colwyn Bay in North Wales

No crags are more road-side than this one! Near Colwyn Bay, close to the A55 North Wales  expressway, limestone walls rise directly above a car park. Not only is this venue incredibly accessible, it’s often bathed in sunshine when the nearby mountains of Snowdonia are cloud-covered. It can be cold on windy days, but dries very quickly after rain.

A number of really useful climbing routes for novice leaders can be found on the right wing of the main crag, including over a dozen that are less than grade 5. If you get bored of climbing, the top of the crag is part of the Mynydd Marian Nature Reserve. It’s a refuge for rare butterflies and nationally scarce heathland flowers.

  • Where: A nature reserve in Snowdonia
  • Park: Directly below the crag (Map ref SH889773)
  • Guide: A55 Sports Climbs by Pesda Press and North Wales Limestone by Pete Harrison (soon to be published)
  • Best for: Slabby and off-vertical easy climbs
  • When to go: Sunny days – take a picnic

Dinorwig slate quarries: (Australia Area), Llanberris in North Wales

Slate is a very unusual rock to climb on, requiring precise footwork, good balance and strong fingers. The vast abandoned slate quarries of Llanberis in Snowdonia provide a surreal and dramatic backdrop to some very good sport climbs. Over 50 bolted climbing routes can be found on the slabby, terraced levels of the Australia sector at Dinorwig.

Access is gained by following a public footpath from the parking area. Bear in mind that technically the routes are on private land and that the landowner (a power generation company) does not officially allow access away from the marked footpaths.

  • Where: Abandoned slate quarry in Llanberis
  • Park: Near the bus turnaround in Dinorwig village (map ref SH590611)
  • Guide: Llanberis Slate by GroundUp
  • Best for: Slabby rock, precise footwork and amazing post-industrial scenery
  • When to go: Not in winter, when it’s very cold. Dries quickly though

Llanymynech limestone quarry, near Oswestry North Wales

A limestone quarry on the border between England and Wales, near Oswestry, Shropshire. Offers dramatic, quite adventurous sport climbing – probably not suitable for novices on their fi rst outdoor ventures.

For those with a little more experience under their belts there are over 100, long sports routes here on several different faces. This quarry is a nature reserve managed by Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Be aware that due to rare nesting birds parts of the cliffs are under restricted access from 1 March to 30 June.

  • Where: On the border between England and Wales
  • Parking: At the Shropshire Wildlife Trust Car park in the village of Llanymynech (map ref SJ 264217)
  • Guide: Clwyd Rock by Rockfax (out of print) and free topos fromwww.sportsclimbs.co.uk
  • Best for: Long, adventurous, vertical and steeper routes

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