South of the Brecon Beacons lies a wealth of excellent sport climbing around Cardiff, Newport, Bridgend, Merthyr-Tydfil, Pontypridd and Abergavenny. This area is connected with good roads and motorways from the West Midlands and West London that make them easily accessible within a 2-hour drive.
The climbing is on a collection of natural and quarried crags with both limestone and sandstone rock to choose from, across a wide range of grades. In this compact area there are 32 crags as shown on the map opposite, with some of the larger crags being Dinas Rock, Sirhowy, Tirpentwys, Navigation Quarry and Gilwern. These larger crags are described in more detail below.
(1) Witches Point is a steep sea cliff situated next to a beech that is mainly non-tidal.
(2) Temple Bay is a long line of low sea cliffs that offer steep and sharp lines on solid rock. Though tidal it is a great place for climbers in the F5 to F7a grade range.
(3) Dinas Rock is one of South Wales’s premier sport crags that has lots of hard routes on good quality limestone rock. It is set in a lovely quiet valley with some easier routes as well.
(4) Taff’s Well offers a good number of long face routes on good rock that are impressive and close to Cardiff.
(5) Gelli has lots of low grade routes at a crag that is in a quiet and pleasant setting.
(6) Mountain Ash is a collection of quarried walls with quick easy access and a wide range of grades.
(7) The Gap provides very fingery and technical climbing across a wide range of grades.
(8) Navigation Quarry is a lovely spot with good sport routes as well as some trad. It has a great sunny aspect and excellent quality rock.
(9) Llanbradlach is a massive quarry with good routes manly in the F6b to F7a grade range.
(10) Sirhowy is one of the best crags in the Valley’s. It’s a lovely spot with excellent routes mainly in the F5 to F7a grade range.
(11) Tirpentwys is a little quarry with lots of good routes on clean well-bolted sandstone rock.
Main sport climbing crags around Cardfiff in South Wales
|No||Crag||Total No of routes||Type of Rock||Aspect of Sun|
|2||Temple Bay||62||Limestone||Morning to mid-afternoon|
|4||Gelli||50||Sandstone||Sun and shade|
|6||The Gap||55||Sandstone||Not much sun|
|7||Mountain Ash||56||Sandstone||From mid-morning|
|8||Navigation Quarry||34||Sandstone||Lots of sun|
|11||Tirpentwys||30||Sandstone||Lots of sun|
All of these crags are covered in the comprehensive South Wales Sport Climbs Guidebook by Rockfax. In total this guidebook details over 1,700 routes at 47 different crags from the Gower to Newport. Buy this guidebook from our shop.
There is also a limited amount of trad climbing in this area that is mainly concentrated at Ogmore near Bridgend. Ogmore is sea cliff climbing that is wild, steep and exciting; you will either love it or hate it. It is pumpy and strenuous climbing on steep and overhanging limestone rock that is generally well supplied with good holds. Dinas Rock also has a small number of trad routes in the E grades.
The South Wales Sport Climbing Guidebook details all the sport climbing crags around Cardiff, Newport, Bridgend, Merthyr-Tydfil, Pontypridd and Abergavenny.
Buy this guidebook from our shop.