There are a number of interesting crags in the Maeshafn area, with a mix of good low-mid grade traditional routes and a few harder sport climbs.
This is a lovely little limestone quarry tucked away in a secluded spot. The rock quality is mostly excellent, although the odd loose hold will be encountered. There is a large range of single pitch trad routes from hard severe up to E6. As you might expect with a short outcrop the climbs are quite intense affairs. Some of the popular routes are a bit polished, but most are okay. There are a few specific access rules for the crag – permission to climb must be sought from the landowner, Mr W Thomas, who can be found at the adjacent Bryn Gwyn Farm. No camping or fires are permitted, dogs must be kept on a lead and all gates closed. Check the BMC Regional Access Database for updates.
The crag is west facing and catches the afternoon and evening sun. It is fairly sheltered and climbing is possible throughout the year round. It is fairly quick drying and there are no major seepage issues.
From Maeshafn village head north towards Gwernymynydd but after 100m take the right turn and follow this road for 700m to Bryn Gwyn Farm. Just beyond the farm park on the verge on the left (making sure not to block the road). Do not park in front of the track leading off left or in the layby opposite the bungalow a little further down the road. Walk down the track until the quarry is seen on the right.
Pot Hole Quarry
This old limestone quarry is a great little venue with numerous entertaining routes. The best climbs are in the Hard Severe to E2 range. Although the pitches are short they are typically action-packed affairs. The rock is better quality than the blocky appearance might suggest but the odd rattley hold will be encountered. A more significant issue is the polish on the popular lines – in hot weather the rock can feel alarmingly slippy! Protection wise expect to find decent wire placements, plus the odd cam placement. There are many solid trees on top of the crag which provide convenient belays. Access to the crag top is easy and setting up top ropes possible.
There are a few specific access rules for the crag – no camping or fires are permitted and dogs must be kept on a lead.
The crag is west facing and catches the afternoon and evening sun. It is very sheltered and set at a low altitude – consequently year round climbing is possible, provided it is not raining. After sustained rainfall the crack lines will be seeping, but in showery weather the crag dries fairly quickly.
Park in the large layby 500m south of Llanferres on the A494. Follow the track eastwards across the field crossing a bridge over the river. Bear rightwards along the obvious path which leads to the wooded area and the crag.
The Devil’s Gorge is very much a crag of two halves. The slabby side gives a range of typically bold trad routes running from Hard Severe up to E2. The rock here is good, but often quite dirty. The steeper wall on the opposite side is home to some impressive sport routes in the F7a – F8a range. When dry (and clean) there is a selection of excellent continuously steep endurance routes on good pocketed rock.
Unfortunately, the gorge has a serious seepage and damp issue; the chances of it being in condition during the winter, or indeed the spring, are very low. It only really dries out in sustained periods of dry weather. Even then it can suffer from ‘sweating’ on humid days. Once dry the routes usually need a good brushing to clean them up into a climbable state. On the plus side it does receive some afternoon and evening sun.
Park sensibly off the main road at the T-junction at the west end of the village of Pantymwyn. Walk down the track marked as a public footpath. Go through a gate at the bottom of the hill, and continue straight on over a stile when the track bends to the left. Follow the path down, passing the top of the gorge on the left and drop down and round on the right to reach the river level path which leads back left to the gorge entrance.