Shropshire History




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Climbing mountains was a popular pastime of Victorian gentlemen in the mid-19th Century, mostly around the Alps. This type of climbing was mostly walking with the aid of an ice axe and ropes for safety. Rock climbing as such involves vertical ascents up rock faces and was first carried out in Britain in the Lake District in the early 1880s. It was popularised following a solo (where a climber ascends on his own without protection) ascent of the 70ft Napes Needle on Great Gable in 1886 by Walter Parry Haskett Smith.


Image result for napes needle

Napes Needle


It is not known when rock climbing was first carried out in Shropshire but it must have been around the turn of the century. Since most quarries were still active then, this would have been on small outcrops of rock. This type of rock climbing is known as “bouldering” and was initially done without the use of ropes or climbing aids. The term is also used for modern artificial climbing walls. As large quarries became disused, climbers used them for longer and more difficult climbs.


Grades of Climb


Each climb is given a grade which informs the climber how hard it will be to climb.


  • E - Easy
  • M - Moderate
  • D - Difficult
  • HD - Hard Difficult
  • VD - Very Difficult
  • HVD - Hard Very Difficult
  • MS - Mild Severe
  • S - Severe
  • HS - Hard Severe
  • MVS - Mild Very Severe
  • VS - Very Severe
  • HVS - Hard Very Severe
  • E - Extremely Severe (E1 - E11).

The second part of the grade (technical) gives an indication of the hardest move to be found on the route (irrespective of how many of them there might be) or how strenuous it is. It starts at 4a, presumably because lower grades are regarded as too easy to be worth mentioning! The scale is


4a   4b   4c   5a   5b   5c   6a   6b   6c   7a   7b.


Thus a typical climb might be grades as VS5a.



Climbing Walls


Climbing the Walls


Oswestry Climbing Centre


Shrewsbury Sports Village


Shropshire Climbing Centre


The Edge Adventure



Climbing Clubs


British Mountaineering Club


Shrewsbury Mountaneering Club


Shropshire Mountaineering Club


Wrekin Mountaineering Club





Gazetteer of Climbing Sites


(See UK Climbing Gazetteer)


Area 41


Sandstone rock with 2 climbs


Carreg y Byg


Limestone rock with 38 climbs.


Clee Hill Quarry


Basalt rock with 3 climbs.


Gaer Stone


Rhyolite rock with 4 climbs.




Sandstone rock with 171 climbs.


Harmer Hill


Sandstone rock with 18 climbs.


Ippikins Rock


Limestone rock with 49 climbs.


Lilleshall Monument


Man-made monument with 5 climbs.


Llanymynech Quarry


Limestone rock with 125 climbs.

This quarry is a nature reserve managed by Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Due to rare nesting birds, parts of the cliffs are under restricted access from 1 March to 30 June.


Moreswood Quarry


Dolerite rock with 2 climbs.



NGR SJ385195

Sandstone rock with 180 climbs.

There is a publication Climber’s Guide to Nescliffe


Pim Hill


Sandstone rock with 10 climbs.


Pontesford Rocks


Igneous rock with 47 climbs.

Restrictions apply during the nesting season.


Rock Lane Quarry


Sandstone rock with 1 climb.




Quartzite rock with 27 climbs.

Restricted to Cranberry Tor. No permanent climbing aids permitted.


The Ercall

Not a recognised safe climb. In 2016, a climber had to be rescued after getting stuck on the unstable rock face. He was brought down by two fire crews from Wellington, safe but embarrassed.


The Wrekin


Rhyolite rock with 3 climbs.




Sandstone rock with 9 climbs.