Pocketgate Quarry


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OS ref. SK523155 (Sheet 129)



This old slate quarry is located in a secluded wooded corner (jungle), at the north end of the Charnwood Forest Golf Course, north west of Woodhouse Eaves.  The main feature is an unusual slab inclined at a deceptively shallow angle and bounded on the left by an overhanging wall - which still awaits its first routes.  The crag faces north and is mostly overhung by large trees.  It sees little sun, so is often green.  Neglected over the last ten years, the routes are in need of use to bring them back into condition.  In the meantime take a wire brush and go on a dry day.  The few climbs here are all very worthwhile when dry but the slate is very slippery when wet and covered in leaves.   The quarry contains ancient rare fossils.  A concentric ring structure (Charniodiscus concentricus), the first Precambrian fossil, was discovered over a hundred years ago.  More recently (1959) a frond‑like structure was found.  They are thought to be some form of ancient seaweed.  The only other ones occur in Australia.  If you find them, leave them alone.  They have been there longer than you.


APPROACH and ACCESS (Location map)


From Woodhouse Eaves, take the road to Nanpantan which joins the A512 half a mile on the Loughborough side of junction 23 on the M1.  After passing the (lower) Beacon Hill car park on your left, with the golf course on your right, the road descends for a mile to a inconspicuous crossroads.  Turn right into the lane opposite Deans Lane.  The Outwoods are on your left.  Park your car sensibly within the next 300m and walk keeping right along the lane bordering the golf club.  The quarry is on your right hidden behind bushes and trees.  The quarry is owned by the golf club.  Used sensibly the climbing does not interfere with the golfers.  No formal access exists, but climbers have used this quarry for over fifty years without any problems.  Keep a low profile and be considerate of the situation.




The rock is purple in colour and was used for a facing stone.  Most of the routes are nail scratched, which must date them pre‑1948.  Unfortunately it is not known who first climbed here.  Before the golf course was purchased from the Beaumanor Estate in 1946 and access restricted (1957) this quarry and the adjacent Hangingstone Rocks, were the `Mecca` of Leicestershire climbing.


The quarries at Woodhouse Eaves belonged to the Herrick family.  They produced a stone which, although it cleaves, is not a true slate but a crystallithic tuff.




From left to right:


1   Lichen Buttress      9m      D      

Up the lowest part of the left‑bounding wall.

2   Lamina      22m      A1

The obvious diagonal crack line across the left‑bounding overhanging wall has been climbed with a number of pegs.  The wall is quite extensive and offers opportunities for hard free routes.


3   Roof      25m      E1      5b

From half way up The Wall Route climb direct just right of a rib on sloping holds.  Poor protection.  D. Jump.


4   The Wall Route      30m      VD            ***

Start at a collection of boulders on the left of the slab.  Ascend direct on small holds to the junction of the slab and the left bounding wall.  Hugging the wall, move up on small flakes.  Bear left at the top to finish under a large oak tree.  A direct finish (S) breaks left as soon as it is possible to get onto a small slab at an upper level.  Climb the slab and finish up the steep wall.


5   Slip and Slide      30m      VS      4c     **

Climb the left corner of the steep wall at the base of the slab and continue up a faint line to join The Wall Route at two thirds height.

The Green Party   VS 4c
An eliminate line between ‘Slip And Slide’ and ‘Central Crack’.  Climb the base wall and then up the apparently blank slab above using small edges.  Surmount the head wall at the same point as central crack.  Andy Pemberton & Noel Curtis 13 May 96

Probably done before in the ‘50’s according to Ken Vickers, so not really a new route!

Yes, when the slab was clean you could climb all over it at 4c/5a.

Yes, done in the ‘50’s.  Alan Griffiths

6   Central Crack      30m      VS      5a     ***

Also called All Fall Down.  The route of the crag.  Start in the centre of the slab.  Climb the base wall and continue until the route crosses the fault running across the slab.  Move onto the upper section and proceed up the crack line.  It begins to fade alarmingly and soon there is only friction and hope.  Should you hear a bell ring at this point, fear not.  It tolls not for thee.  The golfers ring it before they drive over the blind summit.  Finish up the short steep final wall to a huge tree belay.  A unique climb.  The only protection is off line in The Wall Route.  E1 without it.  Many have taken the long slide to the bottom and hobbled away.


7   The Pinch      27m      VS      4c            *

Also called Fascist. Start as for Central Crack.  After moving onto the slab, follow a faint fault line running all the way diagonally rightwards up the slab.  Finish up the head wall.


8   Ordinary Route      20m      D

The well defined crack/fault line on the right side of the slab running left to right.


9   Rightside Route      30m      HS      4a            **

Follow the junction of the slab and wall all the way, crossing the finish of Ordinary Route and Central Crack, to terminate up the top of The Wall Route.


10   Girdle Traverse      33m      VS      4c            *

Start in the extreme left corner of the slab.  Traverse up rightwards into The Wall Route.  Move right to gain the Central Crack just above the fault.  Ascend for 5m then right again on almost invisible holds until the slanting crack of Ordinary Route is reached.  Cross this on a delicate and dusty slab to a grassy ledge on Rightside Route.  From this a swing is made up onto the right bounding wall.