OS ref. SK444160 (Sheet 129)
SITUATION and CHARACTER
This old granite quarry (its proper name is Forest Rock Quarry) was once the centre of climbing in Leicestershire with over 100 recorded climbs.† Now, alas, most of it has been filled in and many classic routes of the early 60's and 70's have been lost.† Routes such as Pigs Ear, Red Wall ArÍte and Catchpenny Twist.† However, the upper half of Regalia Buttress has survived together with a large area of rock to the left.† Two original high quality routes still exist.† The best is Sceptre on Regalia Buttress which has the air of Cloggy about it.
APPROACH and ACCESS
The quarry is situated† on the east side of Whitwick Village some five miles north west of Junction 22 on the M1.† From junction 22 take the A50 towards Burton‑on‑Trent.† In less than a mile turn right at a roundabout onto the B519 and follow this to Copt Oak (there is a YHA here).†† In Copt Oak turn left over the motorway and follow the B587 some 3 miles to Whitwick.† As you pass the village sign, there is a long new stone wall on your right.† After 100m turn left and park in Hastings Avenue.† The low stone wall has a double action steel five‑bar gate which leads onto a path.†† Follow this up over the landscaped area.† At the top of the bank Regalia Buttress is seen to your right.† Follow the rim of the quarry round to the rocks.† Once you know the way it is possible to park in St. Bernards Road (the turning before Hastings Avenue) and go in through the big hole in the fence opposite.† Also it is sometimes possible to park in front of the entrance gates.
The old lower quarry has been almost completely filled with overburden from the adjacent Spring Hill Quarry, owned by ARC.† There is a track which links the two quarries so the area may still be covered by the Mines and Quarries Act.† Tipping now appears sporadic and is well away from the old crag, and separated by a sort of moat so climbing imposes no impediment on the quarry.† ARC seem to take a very laid‑back attitude - they let the locals (who presumably know the blasting times) walk their dogs on the perimeter road even when the quarry is working.†† The crag is discrete and the local kids play on the terraces and in the trees.† The crag has not been used much in recent years, because of the tipping, but now that this is nearly complete the best pitches of some excellent routes remain.† There are acres of rock awaiting exploration.
Whitwick Quarry no longer exists. The description was of it mostly refilled
with overburden from the active quarry next door. Well, it is now a
completely domed hill called Forest Rock Park or something like that, and
part of the National Forest. The Information board describes the former
existence of the quarry on the site and the replanting of it as forest in
1995. The working quarry does have an older face on the south side, that may
give some routes, but clearly this would involve illegal access.† May 2002
First locate Regalia Buttress with the obvious slab of Sceptre.
1 The Missing Link 15m VS 4c
About 40m left of Regalia Buttress is a prominent black overhang.† The bird droppings are an obvious feature.† Climb up to the overhang and move up right on to the arÍte.† This is climbed to the top.† Hard for the grade owing to the loose rock.†
T. Clarke and J. Cliffe, Sept. 1971.
2 Link Up 29m HVS 5a
Start 5m right of the start of The Missing Link at the obvious crack splitting the buttress.† Climb the steep crack strenuously, pulling over the bulge to reach easier ground.† Possible tree belay on right.† Just left of the arÍte go steeply up the wall and move on to the arÍte at 7m (old peg runner).† Pull over the small overhang and climb the loose easy groove and slab to the top.†
B. Courtney and S. Taylor, 26 July 1977.
The routes on REGALIA BUTTRESS are described from left to right.
Some 30m to the left of the top of the buttress of Sceptre is an area of slabs.† A terrace leads down from the top.†† Four short routes start here.
3 Ballot Box 6m VD
The steep cracked groove on the left of the left edge of the slab. 1983.
4 Date Of The Next Election 6m HVS 5a
The finger crack on the left edge of the slab. M. Elliott, 1983.
5 Local Election 6m HVS 5a
Climb the centre of the obvious slab. M. Elliott, 1983.
6 Polling Day 6m S
To the right of the slab is a light coloured rib with a bulging start.† Climb this direct. 1983.
Further to the right is the narrow slab of Sceptre.
7 Cloud Nine 20m S 4a
4m left of the start of Sceptre is a holly tree.† Climb the awkward nose (minute "up and over") to a tree stump.† Climb the crack to a ledge (possible belay) and continue up the wall by the obvious fault line to the finish of Sceptre.
D.J. Jump and S. Clarke, 12 April, 1975.
8 Sceptre 20m VS 4c††† ***
The left side of Regalia Buttress is an obvious slabby groove.† Climb a lower slab by its inner edge, then the groove to finish on the exposed left edge of the slab.† It is possible to traverse in from the side and miss the bottom groove.† There is also a direct finish up a borehole on the right.
†K.S. Vickers and G.V.W. Boulton, April 1964.
9 Orb 15m VS 4c† **
Climb the bulging left edge of the buttress right of Sceptre.
10 The Wezzock 10m S
Right of the bottom of Sceptre is a small buttress.† Ascend the right‑hand wall from the lowest point.† Make an awkward move halfway on to the sloping shelf and continue to the top via the arÍte.
There are also short problems on natural granite on the face overlooking the gardens to the south.