[This website is a hobby, so please bare with me as I add more boulder problems and info]

Forest of Dean Bouldering [START HERE]

Free Forest of Dean Bouldering Maps, Topos, Circuits, Guides and Beginner Info

In this guide I will cover:
  1. Introducing you to the different Bouldering Areas
  2. Forest of Dean Bouldering Maps/Topos
  3. Bouldering Circuits
  4. Beginner Bouldering in the Forest of Dean
  5. Forest of Dean Bouldering Guidebooks
Well first I'd like to say, if you are visiting the Forest of Dean or Wye Valley, then welcome! It may be a small Forest but it packs a large punch with a rich history, pubs with a view, castles, secluded river locations and ponds, and of course lots of trad climbing, sport climbing (Wye valley) and bouldering.

If you are a seasoned boulderer and just need the free Forest of Dean bouldering topos, then feel free to skip down to the bouldering maps and boulder circuits below.

On the other hand, if you are a beginner and new to outdoor bouldering in the Forest of Dean, then you are also in the right place. This website will point you in the right direction, be it where to start bouldering and what low grade problems are good to try first! Read on for free Forest of Dean Bouldering topos and information...

Bouldering in the Forest of Dean & Wye Valley

Sliced Slug Boulder at Huntsham
Sliced Slug Boulder at Huntsham

The rock in the Forest is mainly sandstone, while the rock in the Wye Valley is mainly limestone. Each have their own character as you probably know. 

Below is a list of bouldering locations in the Forest of Dean (& Wye Valley):
  • 3 Rocks (Good for Beginners and kids, experienced too! Font style slopers, crimps, jugs) - South of Ruspidge. Sandstone outcrops, mainly freestanding boulders (no highballs) with a mini quarry, in the heart of the Forest of Dean near Sudley & Ruspidge. A Forest experience, you must hunt for the boulders but when found they do provide a lot of fun, with a couple of 3 Star Boulder problems to go at. Along with this website, there is a cheap (£2.50) .pdf bouldering guide available from Roots Climbing. A bouldering topo for 3 Rocks is recommended.
  • Huntsham (Intermediate to Experienced Boulderers. Fontainebleau sloper style and pebble pulling) - Officially banned for climbingNear Symonds Yat. Sandstone outcrops with lots of medium size to large boulders. Some highballs (can feel scary) and 3 star problems. Very cool once you get to know the style of the rock, my favourite Wye Valley Bouldering area! Located in the woods just outside of Symonds Yat in the Wye Valley, not far from Forest Holidays. You will need a bouldering topo for Huntsham, as the good boulders are very well hidden, especially in summer.
  • Ellwood (UKC Link) (Intermediate to Experienced Boulderers/Esoteric Quarry bouldering) - Fairly close to Parkend (good if you are staying at one of the campsites). A number of sandstone quarrys, so another Forest experience. All pretty lowball bar the odd one or two high ones. Many many problems in a quiet Forest location.
  • Nailbridge/Merthers (UKC link) (Intermediate to Experienced Boulderers/Esoteric Quarry Bouldering) - Not far from Cinderford are some old sandstone quarry outcrops, with some surprisingly good and challenging lines. Worth a look even if visiting. Might be a little tricky to find but not that hard. May feel a little grubby in parts due to fly tipping but the wall around Boomerang is lovely in summer, with the wild flowers that grow there.
  • Biblins Cave (Experienced Boulderers, hard crimpy bouldering) - The 'Daddy' of steep (think horizontal) bouldering in the Wye Valley. There is even the famous f8B+ here to jump on as a warmup. Banned during the Winter months (from October through to Spring). Handy having a couple of pads for this place. Very fingery, hard bouldering. Crimp soldiers will love this place.
  • Lydbrook (Esoteric Quarry Bouldering) - Really just an add on and not a first place to visit. It will be a little underwhelming. That said, if you are local there are a couple of cool lowball sandstone quarried problems here. Not far from Lydbrooks famous 'summer river hangout' at the other end of the village. Great for a dip in the river Wye on hot days! *locals tip: For a stunning picnic spot, search for the church on the other side of the river, just to the North West slightly on the map ;)
  • Wyastone (Esoteric, deep in the Forest Bouldering. Pebble pulling highballs) - A little gem in the forest between Ross on Wye and Monmouth. Lots of pebble pulling highballs and lowballs. The rock can be a little 'snappy' as in all pebble pulling but well worth a visit all the same if you like your bouldering 'esoteric and niche'. It feels like another World here and if you check out UKC for some really esoteric limestone trad that is also on this hill.
  • Hope Mansell (Intermediate to experienced boulderers. Crimpy, powerful) - A stand alone sandstone boulder on the outskirts of Hope Mansell. Lots of cool steep problems in the f6/7s, with thanks to David Cross [Roots climbing] again for this one. I'd advise a couple of matts, as the landing is on an angle.
  • Coppet Hill (Esoteric Pebble Pulling with a view) - High up on the hillside just outside of Goodrich, are many stand alone sandstone boulders with many boulder and trad lines. First mentioned in the Sandstone Outcrops of the Forest of Dean. Nowadays relatively unpopular. Do not even bother in high summer due to the ferns. Best for Winter (sunny spot) and spring. I haven't done too much climbing here as of yet, the boulders are a little hard to find once your are on the hill. Expect a mile or so walk in uphill and bring your adventure hat!
  • More to follow (page under construction)

Map of The Forest of Dean [Click to Expand]

Bouldering Topos [Free to Download]

Below you will find bouldering topos for each area in the Forest of Dean & Wye Valley. They are rudimental but they should get you to each of the bouldering areas fairly easily.

3 Rocks Bouldering Topo Forest of Dean
3 Rocks Bouldering Topo

Huntsham Bouldering Topo Wye Valley
Huntsham Bouldering Topo

Lybrook Bouldering Topo Forest of Dean
Lybrook Bouldering Topo (under construction)

More topos and maps to follow....

Forest of Dean Bouldering Circuits [List]

All Forest of Dean Bouldering Circuits listed here are continuously under construction. Bouldering.FYI is a new website and I do this in my spare time, so please bare with me. Bouldering circuits are listed by grade and also theme, along with Forest of Dean bouldering circuits by area.
  1. Best of the Forest
  2. f4 Bouldering 
  3. f5 Bouldering
  4. f6 Bouldering (Intermediate)
  5. f7 Bouldering (under construction - Hard stuff)
  6. Forest Test Pieces
  7. Perfect for Beginner Boulders
  8. 3 Star Bouldering in the Forest of Dean
  9. Should have Stars
  10. Esoteric
  11. MEME Bouldering (funny boulders)
  12. Traverses
  13. Quarry Bouldering
  14. Personal Favourites
  15. Rainy Day Boulders
  16. Huntsham (all boulder problems)
  17. 3 Rocks (all boulder problems)
To add a bouldering circuit suggestion, please leave a comment or email ForestBouldering@protonmail.com

Beginners bouldering forest of dean
Outdoor bouldering doesn't have to be intimidating! - Honey Boulder, 3 Rocks

Suggested Outdoor Bouldering for Beginners [Forest of Dean]

New to bouldering outdoors and want to know a good place to start in the Forest of Dean? Well the first venue I can suggest to visit is 3 Rocks. It is probably one of the least intimidating boulder areas in the Forest of Dean to visit, with relatively lowball bouldering, with good landings and family friendly (and dog friendly too!). Very easy to 'freestyle' these boulders if you are just starting out, climb them how you'd like!

At 3 Rocks, both of the more friendly areas: 'Covidiots' and 'Big Little World', are both right on the track and pretty easy to find. 'The Perfect Block' should be visited after these two in my opinion but it is a little harder to find, and by that time you should be well underway with 'topping out' and getting pretty confident outdoor bouldering.

  • Covidiots is basically a small quarry, very good and soft landings (can even be bouldered without a matt if you are careful). It is relatively safe for children and dogs, and can be bouldered freestyle, with lots of big holds. 
  • Big Little World is a cool freestanding boulder but a matt here is advised. The landings are good but you need to be careful of the small boulder, as it would really hurt if you landed on that!
  • The Perfect Block is similar to Covidiots, landings are soft and can be freestyled. It is a little tricky to find (forget it in late summer!) but any questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me at ForestBouldering@protonmail.com 
  • View all Boulder Problems in the Forest of Dean suitable for beginners (list under construction)

If you are enjoying this post, please take a moment to subscribe to my YouTube channel, for more bouldering videos in the Forest of Dean, thank you!!!

Forest of Dean Bouldering Guides 

There are a number of guidebook publications for the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley for rock climbing and bouldering. I will talk about those briefly below.

Sandstone outcrops of the forest of dean
The original guidebook for the Forest, was Martin Crockers 'the Sandstone Outcrops of the Forest of Dean'. This was a 'quasi' bouldering book but contains a lot of hard trad lines too. The grades are in traditional British and usually, (as a rough guess) add a + plus to the number grade for the fontainebleau (f) bouldering grade.

This is a cool guide if you want to explore the esoteric areas of the Forest, complete with rudimental (like mine) maps, that allow you to seek out all the cool sandstone.

The guidebook is traditionally quite cheap too, at around £12!

Forest Blocks guidebook
Following on from Martins (and Percivals) work, is David Cross' guidebooks:
Quarry Life and Forest Blocks. Both can be downloaded for less than £3!! David and friends managed to find many new bouldering areas in the Forest, from 3 star lines to esoteric wonders. As you can tell from my website, I hold his work in high regard and even remember the Limestone guidebook 'Cotswold Bouldering guide' he did. The guides are rudimental in nature but lack little when it comes to showing you the boulders.

Hopefully there will be a few more lines to emerge yet, keep on searching David!

Bristol Bouldering guide
The Bristol Estoteric bouldering guide also includes the Forest of Dean, a guidebook I am not that familiar with personally (so I will keep it short) but I have seen snippets of its glossy pages, showing clear lines and maps covering many bouldering areas around Bristol. Retails online at around £35.

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