Heatherslade Bay

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Heatherslade Bay
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time 10 minutes
Area Gower
Sub Area Heatherslade to Pwll Du
WGS-84 Location 51.564105, -4.088588
OS Grid Ref. SS 553 870
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.566835, -4.087865
GR Parking Location SS 553873
Parking Postcode SA3 2DH
Base Elevation 5 metres (Other)
General Info
Faces Direction Various
Aspect Sunny
Wind Sheltered Mostly
Climbing Type Normal
Crags Within 400m

Foxhole Cove, Heatherslade Bay, Marble Arch, Minchen Hole, Prawn Zawn, Watch House East


Heatherslade Buttress and Little Corner are non-tidal. Other crags 3 hours either side of low water.


No bolting.


This is a small climbing venue, consisting of a few easy tidal routes scattered around the west side of Heatherslade bay and the non-tidal Heatherslade Buttress above the east side of the bay. The rock at sea level is good, and Heatherslade is a well known beach for family picnics. The climbing may provide an hour or so of entertainment for family climbers, beginners, or those wanting to finish the day with some pleasant soloing.


Park in the National Trust Car Park at Southgate. For the crags at sea level, follow the path straight down from car park, to meet a path running westward above high tide level. Follow this path, dropping down just before the sandy conglomerate corner at the back west end of the beach. A prominent narrow zawn lies below this conglomerate corner. Headland Slabs are the two-tiered grey white slabs to the west of the zawn. Little Corner is slightly further on to the west and Great Corner 75m west again. Note that 100m on from Great Corner is Grey Slab, which gives routes of grades more in keeping with the Heatherslade area. For convenience, however, it is described under the Fox Hole Cove section. For Heatherslade Buttress, take the second gully eastwards from the NT car park at Southgate. The crag forms the east wall of the gully, and is obvious from the cliff top path.


Are by easy scrambling at various points hereabouts.


These are described from left to right, i.e. in the opposite direction to the approach.

Great Corner

This is the prominent wide angled corner on the west headland of Heatherslade Bay about 75m west of Headland Slab. It is easily recognised by a prominent corner crack and a strip of pink rock above the left-hand slab, where the roof originally taken by some of the climbs once was. The rock is clean and good throughout. The climbs described do not exactly correspond to the original lines, due to the loss of the roof.

1. West Rib 15m M

Climb the rib that stands proud of two easy grooves towards the left-hand end of the slab. J.Talbot 00.00.1959

2. Square Cut 15m D

Climb the groove halfway between Central Corner Crack and West Rib. Follow the prominent crack bounding the left-hand end of the pink patch. J.Talbot 00.00.1959

The cracks at either side of West Rib provide some good fun, but do not merit a grade.

3. Direct 15m S

Pull onto the slab directly below the centre of the upper pink patch and move directly up to it. Pull onto the pink section and follow a thin crack up its centre. Not well protected. J.Talbot 00.00.1959

The old route Twin Slab (J.Talbot, G. Jones 1958), has now fallen down. (Gower & SE Wales - p185 Heatherslade Bay)

4. Central Corner Crack 15m M

The obvious corner crack. J.Talbot 00.00.1959

5. Black Slab 15m HVD

Climb the corner passing the initial bulge, move right onto the sidewall, then follow vague overlaps to the top. Direct through the bulge right of the corner is severe. J.Talbot 00.00.1959 N. Taylor (right hand variant) solo 01.08.2010

Little Corner

West of the Headland Slab and well above the high tide level is a prominent corner.

1. Block 12m HS,4b

Direct over an obvious overhang. J.Talbot, G. Jones 00.00.1958

Headland Slab

1. Route One 7m VD

The front face of the slab, passing through an overlap. J.Talbot 00.00.1959

2. Route Two 7m HD

Follows a vague groove up the white slab right of Route One. J.Talbot 00.00.1959

3. Route Three 9m D

Starting in the base of the gully, climb the groove left of the prominent white quartz ramp. J.Talbot 00.00.1959

The Zawn

The following routes are at the back of the Zawn mentioned in the approach section above.

1. Leany Back Back 10m VS,4b

At the back of the Zawn the roof closes overhead to form a cave with an exit between huge chock-stones. Start beneath this, climb the steep and juggy left wall of the cave direct until it is possible to chimney through the inner-most skylight. Nick Taylor o/s solo 01.08.2010

2. Leany Back 9m VS,4b

Starting just outside the cave entrance, climb the right wall through an overlap direct to the right hand side of asmall roof. Blind moves over this on good holds, then up a small black wall. Nick Taylor o/s solo 01.08.2010

Heatherslade Buttress

This prominent buttress situated above the eastern side of Heatherslade bay is not particularly inspiring.

1. GBH 13m HVS,4c

Start below a grassy ledge on the left side of the cliff. Gain a ledge and pull into a depression on its right side. Continue leftward then rightward to the overhang. Take this on the right, then move rightwards to the top. R.Small, P.Carling 00.00.1974

2. Felony 13m HVS,5a

Start below and right of the grassy ledge. Climb to a bulge and gain a small ledge below an overhang. Traverse right to a loose groove, climb it and bear left over the next overhang. D.Butler, C.Davies 00.00.1975

3. Indecent Exposure 11m HVS,4c

Start 6m left of an indefinite corner bounding the buttress on the left. Climb to small ledges at the foot of a corner capped by a block overhang. Gain the overhang, traverse left for 1½m and finish direct. R.Small, P.Carling 00.00.1974

4. Petty Larceny 11m S

Climb the indefinite corner on the right and the loose groove above. P.Carling, R.Small 00.00.1974

5. Bandolier 24m VS,4c

A left to right girdle at half-height. R.Small, P.Carling 00.00.1974