Carver's Rocks Introduction
OS ref. SK332226 (Sheet 128)
SITUATION and CHARACTER
Carvers Rocks are part-quarried part-natural soft Millstone grit. There are trees at the top of the crag and parts are in jungley undergrowth. The quarried section has an open aspect and is pleasant in the sun. The crag faces northwest and the shaded parts can be green and slippery when wet. Because of the poor quality of the rock and the excellence of some sandy landings either top-roping or soloing are the most frequent modes of ascent.
The area becomes very crowded at times - particularly sunny weekends, and the trust who manage the nature reserve are concerned about injury to other people, either by rocks falling, imitation, or by kids getting too close to the edge. The latter two can definitely be a problem so take special care (or avoid the place) at peak times and watch out for kids. As with all soft sandstone, the crag is covered with carved initials and these give names to some of the routes. The sandstone was quarried in the 1800's for Brithy Hall and other buildings. It gave, together with the quarry at Melbourne, the best building stone in the area. The name is believed to be connected with Lawrence Carver of Ticknall (b.1701 ). The rocks were called Repton Rocks in 1836 and, more recently, have been termed Dawsons Rocks.
Peter Harding climbed here, just post-war, and must have done many of the routes.
APPROACH and ACCESS
The rocks are located four miles north-east of Ashby-de-la-Zouch at the southern end of the new Foremark Reservoir, just off the west side of the Swadlingcote-Ticknall road (the A514). There is a road off into a recreation area belonging to Severn Trent and overlooking the reservoir. Park here and walk back along the approach road to a sunken public path leading down west to the rocks in 200m. The car park is currently (Sept. 1992) closed as a result of pressure by the naturalists on Severn-Trent. The access route may also change but there are public footpaths which can be used to gain access.
The area belongs to Severn-Trent and a part of it is a nature reserve. There have been problems with climbing access in the past but, after involvement of the BMC, these have now been resolved.
Carvers Rocks are part of an SSSI. There is a serious erosion problem along the top of the rocks caused by general traffic, wear by ropes and the washing away of the soft rock by water flow.
In order to reduce the erosion several measures have been agreed by the BMC. More may well follow.
1) There should be no abseiling. This will save the routes, the top of the crag, and the trees that protect the soil at the top of the crag. It is the single most important conservation measure.
2) When top roping from the ground use long slings on the trees so that the karabiner hangs over the edge. This prevents the rope cutting into the trees and also sawing into the ground. It also helps keep abrasive sand out of your rope. If permanent bolts are placed, use the bolts and not the trees.