October 16, 2017 | Sidney Sherborne
"The Forest of Fontainebleau of the Midlands" - Cademan Woods is North of the town of Whitwick, 50 minutes drive from campus. The natural granite boulders are scattered around the forest and may prove tricky to find. The good news is that the woods are beautiful and a nice place to be even if you can't find what you're looking for. However to minimise the chances of getting lost I have included GPS Coordinates for the harder to find areas. From these you should be able to locate the others using the map in the Leicestershire Climbs PDF guidebook. Boulder problems range from Font 3 (VB) to 7C (V9). The boulders are almost entirely green, with some top-outs covered in moss. Midges abound in the more sheltered areas so be sure to go on a day with a stiff breeze.
This post only covers 'Area 1' of the woods, as defined by the Leicestershire Climbs PDF guidebook. I will expand this as I visit the other parts of the wood!
Cavalry Boulder - GPS Coordinates
This boulder takes its name from the cavalry which was erected close by on the 1st of January 1843. The cross is long gone and now a different kind of religion is practised in the woods. We found this boulder to be a bit midgey and a bit wet but boasting excellent climbing. The Top Traverse Font 5+ (V2) is a good warm-up and Little Llanberis 6B+ (V4) is a great problem. Sadly Crack of Wales 7A (V6) was wet. For those with fingers of steel, The Welshy 7B+ (V8) is on this block.
Brap Ya Mum
A block with one or two problems on it with "Brap Ya Mum" sprayed on the back. Stop and sit on the fallen tree and enjoy the juxtaposition of the beautiful natural scenery and the threat of your mum being brapped. The arete is an enjoyable Font 5+ (V2). Using only the lowest start holds to slap for the top of the boulder is Slap Ya Mum 6A+ (V3). A nice place to be, as poignantly illustrated by the broken glass from the many cold ones consumed atop the fallen tree.
The best bit of the crag. The bouldering is on two blocks. The Ripper Block has an eponymous 7A (V6) problem up the left arete, a hard Font 6B+/6C (V4/V5) up the flake and face and an ramble up the right arete at 4+ (V0). The Detached Block has problems easy problems on the front and harder problems on the back. To the right of the Detached Block runs a Diff ridge which takes you to the top of Twentysteps and up to the beautiful beech tree. Probably the nicest place to be in the forest.
Turry Tor & Green Goddess
Sadly this area was almost all covered in a thin layer of moss and dirt. The harder climbs like Suicide Prow 7C (V9) and Mike's Dyno 7A (V6) looked particularly in need of a clean.
Reg's Crack - GPS Coordinates
A high boulder with two good quality easy problems: Reg's Arete Font 3 (VB) and Reg's Crack 3+ (V0).
Gonzo - GPS Coordinates
A tricky boulder to find but with good problems. Gonzo 5+ (V2) climbs the nose from the back of the boulder. Gonzo Nose 6A/6A+ (V3) climbs the nose using the arete and thin crack. Climbing the crack without the arete or the jugs is 5+ (V2). The prow sticking out of the slope just above Gonzo is Rizzo the Rat, a great f5/V1 sit-start problem with an awkward mantel to finish.
50 minute drive from Warwick Sport
Park in a layby close to where Turolough Road becomes Warren Lane - (GPS Coordinates)
Try to go on a windy day to minimise midges
Our Recommended Routes:
Top Traverse 5+ (V2), Cavalry Boulder
Little Llanberis 6B+ (V4), Cavalry Boulder
Brap Ya Mum 5+ (V2)
Slap Ya Mum 6A+ (V3)
Big Flake 6B+/6C (V4/V5), Twentysteps Area
Reg's Crack 3+ (V0)
Gonzo Nose 6A/6A+ (V3), Gonzo
Thanks to Niamh Gibson, Sylvan Chouhan and Tom Lord for contributing photos.