South Wales Rock

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From the Brecon Beacons through The Valleys and onto the Coast, this guide contains 1500 of the best routes in South Wales.

Available from The Climbers’ Club shop from early December.

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South Wales Rock

This guidebook is the first joint venture by the Climbers’ Club after 110 years of guidebook publishing; working with the South Wales Climbing Wiki (SWCW) to produce this select guide with a difference. It’s a ground breaking hybrid guide that combines the convenience of a select book with the completeness of a comprehensive guide. A quick scan of a QR code on your smart phone will transport you to the South Wales Climbing Wiki a huge online depository of up-to-date local climbing information. The Wiki holds information on all recorded climbs in the area. With this hybrid approach when new routes get put up or old ones fall down, the Wiki will keep you up to date and in the know. With over 200 edits per month is as up to date as you can get. 

The Climbing

The climbing is divided into four chapters:

Northern Limestone

This string of limestone quarries and outcrops along the southern border of the Brecon Beacons offers a range of enticing options from easy trad at Morlais and Twynau Gwynion to athletic sport and burly bouldering at Dinas Rock. Each crag has a different feel and all are blessed with beautiful views of the Brecon Beacons National Park. 

Unknown climber on Berlin, (7a+)
© James Taylor

Valleys East

East of the A470, the trunk road that cuts through the coal field from Cardiff to Brecon, is a maze of valleys filled with mining villages and an industrial history that refuses to be forgotten. Most of the crags found here are sandstone quarries with the occasional natural outcrop and most of the venues bolted for sport climbing. The incredibly popular Tirpentwys, the ever reliable Navigation Quarry and the roadside limestone around Taffs Well which gives easy access cragging with views of modern industrial Wales. Quality trad climbs can be found at the popular Penallta.

Valleys West

West of the A470 is the quiet side of The Valleys. Again most crags are bolted for sport. Treherbert which is set in the trees above the picturesque Rhondda Valley and Port Talbot’s Abbey Buttress which offers the stark contrast of the steel works against the beautiful bay. Quality trad climbing is found at the classic valleys crag of Trebanog and at the recently developed Cilfrew Edge with its multitude of gritstone-esque routes in a sheltered woodland setting. 

Alan Rosier on Baphomet (HVS 5b)
© Will Calvert

Coastal Limestone

Climbing by the sea on the south coast of Wales is not all giant abseils and epic adventure routes, but you’ll find plenty of those on the cliffs at Ogmore whether it’s the 7 pitch classic HVS Exposure Explosion or one for the many DWS challenges at Davy Jones' Locker,  For those looking for a gentler introduction to sea cliff climbing then Box Bay is the place to head with lots of low to mid-grade routes in a family friendly setting, once the tide goes out of course. If you’ve got your tide times wrong then there is always Castle Upon Alun which is just inland and has plenty of sport routes to get on instead. The headland of Witches Point is a sport climbing mecca with loads of routes across the grades in a beautiful beach setting.

Rob Lamey on Davey Jones' Locker (S2 7b+)
© Simon Rawlinson

A good chef knows that the first bite is with the eye, and likewise presentation is key to a good guidebook. No one wants a book that looks like the glued together pages of a printed text file. The design of this guidebook takes things to the next level. Inspirational action shots sit alongside important crag and route information and have been blended in such a creative way that postcodes become crimps and a flailing heel-hook knocks text out of line.  

There really is something for everyone, no matter what their grade or style, whether you want a sheltered woodland quarry or dramatic sea cliff, quick hit bouldering or local classics to return to again and again. With such easy access to most areas from the M4 and major trunk roads, and an average approach time from parking to crag of just 11 minutes, you can add convenience to the long list of reasons to pack your sack and pay a visit. 

It's not been an easy year for anyone and we all need a little ray of sunshine with something to look forward to in 2021,  so treat yourself to one of the finest guidebooks ever produced[1] and start planning your next climbing adventure!

Benjamin Lockie on Exposure Explosion (HVS 5a)
© George Hawksworth

The Team:

Vital Statistics:

Selected for inclusion in the 312 pages are:

  • Over 40 crags - including the popular haunts, newly discovered gems and the overlooked and under rated waiting for their time to shine. 
  • Over 1500 Routes - including trad climbs from Diff. to E6, sport routes from to F4 to F8a+, bouldering and Deep Water Solos.
  • Over 100 additional crags and thousands of additional routes available on the Wiki. 
  • Over 100 action shots sourced from the climbing community to add some inspiration. 


  1. Author's opinion and so highly biased!