East Buttress, Oxwich Point
|Rock Type||Natural Carboniferous Limestone|
|Approach Time||35 minutes|
|WGS-84 Location||51.543053, -4.156058|
|OS Grid Ref.||SS 505 848|
|WGS-84 Parking Location||51.556905, -4.166137|
|GR Parking Location||SS 499 864|
|Parking Postcode||SA3 1LY|
|Base Elevation||42 metres (SRTM Estimation)|
|Crags Within a Half Mile.|
No bolting allowed
For an out of the way, beautiful place, Oxwich Point has few rivals. The rock here is weathered, cemented limestone - making for some interesting and unlikely holds. The range of grades means there is something for everyone. Protection is generally good if you are creative.
The three crags of Oxwich Point are scattered along a 1km length of coastline.
The walk-in to this crag is long and the route is not that easy to find once out of the woods. Paradoxically, it is easier to get lost on the way back! If you plan returning at dusk, take a torch. It's dark in the woods!
From the South Gower Road (A4118) turn off left towards Oxwich at the folly ruin (SS 501 883) and down the steep and narrow road and then follow the road as it crosses the fen, past Oxwich Bay Car Park on the left and a small shop on the right, to a small crossroads. Go straight over the crossroads and, after about 100m, park in the one of the two lay-bys on the left (51.556905 -4.166137 or SS 499 864).
Just at the lower of the two lay-bys is a gate leading into the woods. Go through the gate and follow the path steadily uphill for about 1km until you exit the woods at 51.550611, -4.157596 (or SS 505 857).
From here walk approximately 800m in a southerly direction (passing a trig point after 100m), to a point on the cliff top about 80m NW of Oxwich Point East Buttress (51.543792, -4.156679 or SS 505 849). From here take the ramp that descends leftwards (east-ish) to arrive at the foot of the buttress after 80 metres.
An easier (though longer) approach can be made by walking steeply uphill from the cars for 500m until you come to the turn-off for Oxwich Castle. Take this turn-off and carry on past the castle on a straight and unsurfaced farm track. After about 1200m, you come across a small footpath marker directing you to the right along a narrow path. Take this path and head to the clifftop. Beware, despite not going near the woods on the return journey. Its very easy to become lost on the way back when dark.
Another (shorter) approach to Oxwich Point (but with very limited parking), can also be made from Oxwich Green, going down the lane alongside the caravan site and then following the lower coast path (for 1.25km) passing Holy's Wash Buttress, West Buttress and East Buttress.
The crags are described from west to east; i.e. as encountered on the quickest approach from Oxwich Green.
Location in the Infobox is for the East Buttress.
Walk off in either direction.
There are three buttresses at Oxwich Point, Holy's Wash Buttress, West and East Buttress. The East Buttress is the first one encountered on the headland approach. The West Buttress is 170m further on and Holy's Wash Buttress is 900m further on from West Buttress.
|E1 - E3||0|
|E4 - E5||0|
The West Buttress (51.544051, -4.157923 or SS 5045 8500), easily recognised by its prominent over-hanging nose is 100m from the East Buttress.
- Mortuary Crack 9m D
This follows the obvious crack running up behind the blocky nose.
- Vampire Wall 11m VS,4c
Start at the inner edge of the wall right of Mortuary Crack. Traverse to a small ledge in the middle. Move onto the nose and over it.
- Islay 15m VS,4b
Start to the right of Vampire Wall below an ivy covered wall on the seaward side immediately below the overhanging nose. Climb a corner and up to sentry box on the right. Continue up to the overhang, then move onto the left wall and over the corner to finish.
|E1 - E3||3|
|E4 - E5||0|
The East Buttress is more prominent. It is characterised by bulging walls split by a series of steep corners.
- Far South West Corner 12m VD
The prominent corner on the left of the buttress.
- South Wall 15m HS
Climb the wall 3m right of Far South West Corner to half-height, then move left to finish as for Far South West Corner.
- Captain Stabbing Visits Uranus 14m HVS,4c
Climb South Wall, but continue direct up the shallow left-facing corner forming the left side of the pillar
- Hide The Sausage 14m E1,5b
Start 2m left of the right arête of the wall. Gain the shallow groove directly and follow it passing a poor PR on the left.
Round to the right is a narrower chimney (South West Corner).
- Crowbar 12m HVS,5a
The groove right of the left arête of the wall running across to South West Corner.
- Lichen Wall 12m HVS,5a
Climb the centre of the wall which runs across to South West Corner.
- South West Corner 12m HS
Follow the shallow corner. Loose in its upper section.
- South West Chimney 12m HS
Further right is a much more prominent corner. Follow the wide chimney crack in the back.
- No Hold Barred 14m HVS,5a
The vague cracks up the wall to the right of the chimney.
- Sea Breeze 14m HVS,5a
Start up the right hand crack on the wall to the right of South West Chimney. Move right across the face and finish up through the bulges at the top.
- Take a Bow 14m E2, 5c
Use the start of Oxbow to get standing on a spike at 10 feet. From here, place gear in pockets in the wall to your left, traverse left onto then up the steep wall to a break. Take the broken groove/crack to the top taking care at the top out.
- Oxbow 12m E1 5b
The crackline just around the arête from South West Chimney. Upgraded from VS!
- Benbow 12m E1 5b
The steep crack line on the right side of the overhanging face. Also upgraded from VS!
- Mortuary Crack - B.Winterburn, C.Manison, J.Procter, J.Hobbs 1971
- Vampire Wall - J.Procter, B.Winterburn 1971
- Islay - J.Procter, T.Kitchen, B.Winterburn 1971
- Far South West Corner - R.Owen & D.Jones 1959
- South Wall - J.Talbot & D.Thomas 1959
- Captain Stabbing Visits Uranus - G.Ashmore, R.Thomas & N.O’Neill 06.02.2005
- Hide The Sausage - G.Ashmore, R.Thomas & N.O’Neill 06.02.2005
- Crowbar - M.Murray & R.Wadey 00.06.1995
- Lichen Wall - J.Talbot & D.Thomas 1959
FFA E.Kellar & A.Richardson - Direct 1989
- South West Corner - R.Owen & D.Jones 1958
- South West Chimney - R.Owen & D.Jones 1958
- No Hold Barred - R.Wadey & P.Nicholas 1994
- Sea Breeze - S.Hill & C.Wyatt 23.06.2010
- Take a Bow - C. Wyatt 23.06.2010
- Oxbow - J.Bullock & G.Evans 9 July 1978
- Benbow - J.Bullock & G.Evans Pre-1981
- From Gower Peninsula Supplement (1973) p. 14. Talisker* 50ft. IV/VI (?)
This takes the obvious diedre R. of route 8 [Islay]. Climb the corner then move L. to reach a crack which is followed up though the wall above.
Recorded as being climbed on top-rope in 1971. Probably by one or more of, B.Winterburn, C.Manison, J.Procter, T.Kitchen and J.Hobbs.
- Graded III in Gower Peninsula (1970) and graded VS, 4b in error in some later guidebooks
- Described in Talbot (1970) p.75, as starting as for South West Corner and then going left and taking the centre of the wall to the top. "A somewhat unpleasant climb on very friable rock; pegs for direct aid. 40ft., VI".
- This date from G.Evans’ notes. Email from G.Evans to Tim Hoddy 18 June 2022