Bardon Hill Introduction
OS ref. SK459132 (Sheet 129)
SITUATION and CHARACTER
The highest point in Leicestershire (278m) looks over an enormous quarry the source of a greenish crystalline rock, the much-prized Bardon "good rock". The hill offers bouldering below the summit, an ancient quarried face, and who-knows-what on the slabs in the quarry. Currently (Ma~ 1992) the quarry north of the hill (Siberia) is being filled with overburden so that rock south of the hill can be extracted. It should take about 4 year~ to fill and the final level is uncertain. Climbs on the old quarry face at the top of the hill will probably survive, which is good because they have a mountain touch about them. They are exposed to the weather yet, facing west, they get a lot of summer sun. The summit is a wonderful place (If you can ignore the quarry and the radio masts). It has been claimed that the hill "commands a greater extent of surface than any other point of view in the island … like an ocean view from a ship out of sight of land". You can see the Sugar Loaf in South Wales, the Shropshire Hills, and summits in N. Wales and Derbyshire.
The rock is a kind of granite. It was being quarried in 1622 and a small quarry is shown on the map of 1835. Large scale working started in 1857 and the quarry is described as "great" by 1877. By 1890 it had been "much enlarged" and was working at three levels. The summit quarry probably dates from this period. Certainly the face was there in 1910 as it is shown on old maps. The quarrying technique was interesting. Four inch hole: were drilled and then "sprung" with successive small charges until G chamber was formed sufficient for the main charge of explosive. This could be as much as l5cwt (750kg). Almost all the rock went for road stone or railway ballast. The man responsible for the quarry was Breedon Everard who worked the little quarry at Billa Barra and lived in Bardon Hall. He had a summer house on the summit of Bardon Hill. He went on to form Ellis and Everard, a Leicestershire supplier of builders' materials.
APPROACH and ACCESS
The summit of Bardon Hill is the most remote crag in this guide. There are three approaches:
1. From the Copt Oak-Whitwick Road (8587) take the first left after leaving Copt Oak (1.5 miles) towards the Agar Nook estate. Take the first left (Romans Crescent) and park near Vercor Close (yes, it's true). A footpath starts from Vercor Close and leads round the Siberia quarry to the private road leading to the summit of Bardon Hill. It is worth walking up to the rim to look into the defile of the quarry - the Grand Canyon of Leicestershire - while it is still there.
2. Take a footpath off the Copt Oak-Whitwick road about half a mile from Copt Oak, past Kellam's Farm and on to the private road that leads to the radio masts on the top of Bardon Hill.
3. Start from the A50, near an old chapel (4691 16) and take the footpath past Old Rise Rocks farm (some spectacular outcrops but no climbing) and continue to the summit.
The radio masts are a couple of hundred metres east of the trig point and various little paths link the two. The climbing is directly below the trig point. A secure wire fence bars access by the summit but the fence is not so secure in the wood to the south. It should be possible to scramble down to the platform below the climbs, alternatively abseil. It is possible to get onto a lower terrace about 500m east of the summit (there's a hole in the fence beside the road) and walk along below slabs etc. to the climbing area.
Because of the possibility of stonefall it would be hazardous to attempt to climb whilst the men filling the quarry are working below. Access has been restricted and the quarry is possibly covered by the Mines and Quarries Act. However, as filling proceeds, it is likely that more of Bardon Hill will become an area to which the public has access and these routes (and more) will become available again. There is no information from anyone who has recently climbed at Bardon but visitors all agree that there is much scope for new routes on the slabs and buttresses on the top tiers of the Siberia quarry. The quarry is owned by Bardon Hill Quarries.
I have writing with regard to the above web site and in particular Bardon Hill and Huncote Quarries. Both of these properties are owned by Aggregate Industries and both are active quarries. Unauthorised entry into these sites is not permitted as they are serious Health and Safety issues in using quarry faces for climbing. Not only is there a risk to the climbers but also to our employees who work at the two sites. This is over and above the fact that anyone who enters our sites is doing so without our express permission.
Please can you withdraw immediately any references to the properties.