Castle Quarry

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Castle Quarry
The Main Overhang
The Main Overhang
Rock Type Quarried Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Sport
Approach Time
Area Inland Limestone
WGS-84 Location 51.535699, -3.255558
OS Grid Ref. ST 130 826
WGS-84 Parking Location
GR Parking Location
Base Elevation 130 metres (SRTM Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction
Wind Sheltered
Climbing Type
Crags Within 10.0 km

Brittania Quarry, Castle Quarry, Coedcaerau-bach, Cox's Quarry, Cwm Leyshon Quarry, Golf Club Crag, Llanbradach Lower Tier, Llanbradach Upper Tier, Llantrisant Drugs Cliff, Secret Taffs Well, Senghenydd, Sirhowy - Quarry Mawr, Sugardaddy Gasworks, Taffs Well, Taffs Well Pinnacle, Taffs Well West, Taffs West Railway Cutting, The Darren, Trehafod, Tyn-y-coed, Wenvoe Quarry

Castle Quarry
Sport Grades
<= 6a+ 7
6b - 6c+ 6
7a - 7b 1


A brand new sports climbing development providing some easy routes on the slabby right hand wall and a few harder lines in the central bay and main overhang.

The sun enters the quarry in the morning and dusk brings darkness quickly due to the thick canopy of trees. There is only limited seepage at the quarry and its behaviour is observed to be independent of that at Taffs Well Main and so may be climbable when Taffs Well Main is not. Amazingly, in the summer the tree canopy above the cliff is so dense it acts as an umbrella to drizzle and passing showers.

The rock is predominantly a very compact and occasionally gritty limestone, very similar to that found in the Wye Valley. However, the underside of the main overhang looks like a sheet of blobby pillow lavas probably formed by extreme vertical pressures squeezing and contorting the soft shale band beneath. Where the shale has weathered out, the blobby cast or imprint is visible on the lower bedding plane of the overlying limestone.


Best approached from below, park as for Taffs Well Main, go past the gate and follow the track bearing right. Soon after you pass a short set of stone steps a small valley feature appears on the left. Follow this valley (easiest on its right hand side) to the quarry. A large overlap lies on the left of the quarry with easier slabs to the right. A low profile should be maintained.

See map at the bottom of the page.


Access to and from the top of the quarry is difficult and all routes have lower-offs or adjacent lower-offs.

Hidden Taffs Well - Castle Quarry

The Routes

The routes are described from left to right, the first route starts at the top of the banking at the far left hand end of visible rock.

Topo castlequarry left.jpg
  1. The Slippery Lip Trip - Fr. 6b *
    An atmospheric left to right traverse of the main overhang. From the top of the banking, left of the roof, step up onto the slab and traverse delicately using overhead holds. Above the apex of the overhang, a narrow right-facing corner (and large not-to-be-touched block overhead) requires you to make a crux step down, onto the very lip of the roof, in an exposed position. Continue on gradually improving holds, ending in a series of solid undercuts, and reach up to the Games of Ambivalence lower off. 25m.

  2. Lungworms - Fr. 7a *
    First up-line on left of crag. Steep pulls and undercuts allow passage though the overhang and a delicate rock up accesses the slab. Staple lower off. 12m

  3. The Crawling Chaos - Fr. 7a *
    Tackle the underside of the improbable roof using good holds on globular features. The first hanger requires a slightly longer than normal sling. The lower off is a little to the right, on the hanging slab. 12m.

  4. Avoiding Chaos - Fr. 6c
    Two bolts linking the routes either side.

  5. Play the Joker - Fr. 6b+ *
    Right end of the overhang into a niche containing a vertical shot-hole.

  6. Games of Ambivalence - Fr. 6b+
    An ascent of the wall immediately right of the overhang. Discernable by 'P' bolts.

  7. The Warmth of a Man - Fr. 6a
    Blocky wall.

  8. Ass in the Hole - Fr. 6b+
    A tricky lower wall to shallow cave, steeper upper section leads to shared LO with Royal Flush.

  9. Royal Flush - Fr. 6b+
    Steep overhanging corner with shot hole mid-way.

  10. Savant - Fr. 6c+
    A route whose grade may depend on the climbers height/reach. Follow ramp to the base of the large overhanging block. Layback on sloper/high pinch and lunge for v-slot.

    Topo castle quarry rhs.jpg

  11. Stalag Luft - Fr. 6a **
    Follow the slab to a crux at mid-height, use shot hole or not.

  12. A Ride on the Chocolate Unicorn - Fr. 5c
    Start on easy moves, past thick ivy stem, to bulge (crux) beneath lower-off.

  13. The Dark Art of Banana Magic - Fr. 4
    An ascent of the easy slab to the left of the hanging tree.

  14. R2 Sucking D2 Licking Deep inside a Half-Cooked Chicken - Fr. 4
    An ascent of the easy slab to the right of the hanging tree.

  15. For Fonting Friends - Fr. 4
    A line on the easy slab. The blocks look a little Jenga-like.

  16. Dissertation Distraction - Fr. 5
    Right most line on the easy slab.

Additional Photos

First Ascents

  1. A. Rosier, D. Emanuel, B. Danby 16.05.2009
  2. R.McAllister, A.Rosier 14.07.2020
  3. A. Rosier 21.05.2009
  4. A.N.Other
  5. R. Thomas, N. O'neill 2009
  6. J. Maddison, H. Andrews 05.04.2009
  7. D. Emanuel, R. Thomas 00.05.2009
  8. R.Thomas, N. O'neill, E. Rees 00.08.2009
  9. R. Thomas. 25.05.2009
  10. D. Emanuel 25.05.2009
  11. D. Emanuel, K. Davies 21.02.2009
  12. D. Emanuel, K. Davies 21.02.2009
  13. D. Emanuel, D. Hannam 00.05.2009
  14. D. Emanuel 00.00.2009
  15. J. Maddison, H. Andrews 05.04.2009
  16. M. Walter 11.05.2009


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