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OS Landranger Sheet: 94        

Map Reference: SE873915

Aspect: South West

Altitude: 200m

Approach Time: 10 minutes

Mini Guide: Bridestones Mini Guide (PDF)




The history of these stones is not clear because the attitude to small outcrops was not to “claim” ascents as this was just bouldering. These unique rocks were “discovered” by Stuart Bradley and Ian “Squawk” Dunn recorded the principle development during 1981/82. Big Dog’s Cock and Feeding the Hedgehog were climbed by Francis (Monty) Montague, Martin Parker and Martin Skidmore during the winter of 1989/90. Neil Thompson recorded many problems during the work for the 1995 edition of this guide although it is probable that some will have been climbed previously. Griff Griffith took a wrong turn out of Sheffield late in 1995 and found himself three hard additions to the Pepperpot family, Master, Mrs and Mr Pepperpot. This chapter is based on original information that was provided by Neil Thompson.

Situation and Character
The Bridestones are North Yorkshires humble answer to Brimham, not as extensive but still a great place for family bouldering picnics. They are situated in an area of open moorland to the north of Dalby Forest. The rocks are separated into two areas. The Lower Pinnacles are encountered first and then further north the High Bridestones. The rock can be sandy in places and some of the holds can be friable, especially after damp weather, so requiring a delicate approach. The better climbing is on the Upper Buttresses. The National Trust owns the rocks and surrounding areas. They actively encourage visitors and permit climbing to take place provided that no ropes or leading gear is used. This is to prevent excessive erosion of these unique rock formations. Because of this (and the diminutive height of the rocks) soloing is the norm. The traverses here are harder and more sustained than the classic Scugdale traverse from Plumbline to Tippling Wall, although the rock quality is more variable. Note the rock on these buttresses is steep, sometimes very steep, so after a while 5b feels more like 6b especially when moving over the lip of a buttress. Strangely it feels higher too, don’t worry though the ground is soft and not too far away. The rocks do not accumulate much dirt but they are often sandy, so nylon toothbrushes are essential. However wire brushing is discouraged on these soft rocks, as the crust is so delicate.

Access and Approaches
The Bridestones are best reached by using the Dalby Forest Drive, a Toll Road, from Thorntondale. When entering Thornton le Dale from Pickering, take the first left turn (signposted to Dalby Forest Drive and to Whitby). After about a mile take a right turn on to a minor road that leads via a toll road to Low Danby. Continue along the scenic Danby Forest Drive passing many parking and picnic areas to the car park at Low Staindale. If you get as far as the hairpin bend by Staindale Lake, turn back, you have just passed it! From the car park at Low Staindale Forestry Commission and National Trust signs lead you to the rocks in about ten minutes. Follow the path towards the wooded hillside, ignore the gated path and continue a short way then take the left fork as the path rises up through the woods towards the open moorland above.


The Pepperpot © Steve Crowe 2006

The Climbs
The Pinnacles and Buttresses are described from south to north, i.e. as you approach them.

The Lower Pinnacles
The first four pinnacles and The Pepperpot all lie to the left (west) of the main path.

First Pinnacle

1. Cave Route Font 4+
From a low start in cave climb either straight up or out rightwards.

2. Font 1
The descent

3. Big Round Jugs Font 3+
Start at the arête moving left to pocket.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

4. Passion Play Font 3
The crack.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

5. Font 5+
The overhang just right of the crack.

6. Accidents will Happen Font 5
The overhang in the centre on surprisingly good holds.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

7. Guano Wall Font 5
Start at the pocket at head height. Move up on the prominent flakes.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

8. Font 5
The pockets awkwardly using side pulls.

9. Font 5+
The bulge passing the bracken.

10. Font 5+
The steep bulge finishing right of the bracken.

11. Font 5
Pockets reaching right at the top.

Second Pinnacle
Just north of the First Pinnacle with climbing on the west and north faces.

12. Font 5
Crack and roof to the left of the arête.

13. Font 5
The roof via two holds

14. Font 5
Just left again climb the roof via two holds

15. Font 4+
The rib before scoop/cave then hand jam.

16. Font 5
The scoop/cave to exit right.

17. Font 6a
Gain side pulls then lunge!

18. The Crack Font 5
Climb the crack.

19. Font 5+
The steep wall left of the crack.

20. Font 4+
The steep wall just right of easy ground.

Third Pinnacle
A small round block.

21. South Face Font 3
The small prow adjacent to the path.

22. North Face Font 3+
Large layaways on the North Face lead to an awkward finish.

23. Great Western Font 3+
The wall finishing left of the small capping roof.

24. West Way Font 3
The centre of the west face trending right at the top.

25. Font 3+
A traverse of the boulder. Keep off the ledge on the slab side.

Fourth Pinnacle
This is a small south west facing buttress.

26. Font 2+
The short crack, step left and mantle to finish. Good.

27. Font 3+
The triangular roof via hole. Interesting.

28. Font 3+
Roof via undercut.

The line up the chimney crack between routes 28 and 29 is a rather nice Font 2.

29. Font 3+
Shallow roof to ledge.

30. Font 4
The scoop moving right to finish.

31. Font 3
The arête.

32. Font 3
The short dubious flake to mantle.

The Pepperpot

33. Mrs Pepperpot Font 6c
Tackle the roof then traverse the lip right to finish up Mr Pepperpot.
Griff Griffith 1995

34. Mr Pepperpot Font 7a
A sitting start beneath the steepest part.
Griff Griffith 1995

35. Central Goove Font 6a
The groove on the path side is a good problem.

36. Font 5
An exercise in jug pulling left of the prow.

37. Master Pepperpot Font 6b
The overhang via a pocket.
Griff Griffith 1995

38. Font 5+
Just right of the prow.

39. The Descent Font 4
The steep crack is awkward to start, but it is thankfully easier to descend (jump)!

40. Font 5+
The bulge just right of the crack.

The Black Buttresses
Continue along the path, past an uninteresting boulder that blocks the path and over a small rise to the first of two small buttresses on the right.

Initial Buttress

41. Font 6b
Right to left traverse starting at the pinch.

42. Font 6a
Sitting start in the hole, straight up.

43. Font 5+
Low start on pocket, straight up.

44. Font 6b
Sitting start in cave (no jug or thread).

Final Buttress

45. Font 4
Start at the lowest point of the buttress. Climb the bulge to gain a hollow flake, moving slightly right jams in the “eyes” lead to a mantle.

46. Font 5
A right to left traverse.

High Bridestones
The High Bridestones can be seen to the North West of the Black Buttresses across a small valley and are about four minutes walk away. They are characterised by an isolated buttress on the left of the path and an overhanging escarpment further north, on the right. Note that nettles can be a problem beneath the High Buttresses in summer!

46a. The Tunnel Font 6a
A sit start right through and up and out the tunnel hole on the block just before the Isolated Pinnacle, 7.5m of enjoyable roof climbing.

The Isolated Pinnacle
This prominent pinnacle with an impressive west face is situated amongst a cluster of smaller insignificant boulders on the crest of the rise after crossing the small valley.

47. Wrong time of the Month Font 4
The overhanging north wall on the left.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

48. Vin Rouge Font 4
The overhanging north wall on the right.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

49. Honeycomb Font 3
Start on a small ledge just off the ground. Climb the right side of the arête, trending left.

50. Scoop Wall Font 3+
Start on the small ledge as for Honeycomb and climb the scoop in the west face.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

51. Red Flash Font 3+
Start 3m right of Scoop Wall. Climb up the left side of the bulge on pockets.

52. Strawberry Fields Font 4
Start 2m right of Red Flash. Climb the right side of the next bulge on surprisingly good holds all the way. Excellent!
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

53. Big Dogs Cock Font 5+
About 2m right is another scoop. Climb into the scoop and over the roof. Scary.
Francis (Monty) Montague, Martin Parker and Martin Skidmore during the winter of 1989/90

54. Scarlet Pimpernel Font 5+
From the scoop of Big Dogs, move out right to the arête.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

55. Red Light Font 4
Climb the arête to the right of Scarlet Pimpernel, starting on the right.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

56. Little Red Robin Font 5
A left to right traverse starting at Red Flash and finishing up Red Light.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

Far North Buttresses
The escarpment, just to the north, is divided into four buttresses. These are described from left to right, starting with the most northern buttress and working back south.

Buttress One
This buttress has a holly tree on the path at the right hand end.

57. The New Number One Font 3+
The short wall on the North face at the left of the buttress. Climb the steep bulges.

58. Hoedown Font 3+
The short wall at the left of the buttress. Climb the steep bulges on good holds. Good.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

59. Bat out of Hell Font 5
Climb the bulge just right of Hoedown.

60. Dingly Dell Font 5
Start as for Bat... and trend right to just left of the central roof. Slightly easier than Bat out of Hell.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

61. Going for the One Font 5+
Bold climbing up the centre of the wall, on fragile holds, and take the roof direct.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 led

62. Right Side of the Law Font 5
The wall and smaller roof just left of Bird Shit Groove.

63. Birdshit Groove Font 3
The obvious groove on the right of the buttress, better that the name and the appearance!

64. Going Up North Font 5
A pumpy right to left traverse to finish up Hoedown.

Buttress Two
There are two rowan trees by the path at the right hand end of this buttress.

65. Northern Frights Font 5
The bulge to an awkward rounded finish.

66. Aurora Font 3+
Pull on good pockets through the bulge on the left of the buttress, just left of Northern Lights.

67. Northern Lights Font 4+
The rounded flakes lead through the bulge.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

68. Borealis Font 4+
Start at the yellow sandy patch, just left of the small boulder in the ground: climb direct.

69. Winter Wonderland Font 5
Climb the wall in front of the boulder in the ground.

70. Toll Road Font 6a
Start three metres right of the small boulder, from a good hold reach slopers then the obvious break, continue up juggy pockets to the hole near the lip, move right and up to a sapling.

70a. Nürburgring Font 7a
SS from a right hand flake then to crimps then a right mono, left to good holds then the slopers at the break and the right hand sloping undercut, then the big reach! Finish direct to the sapling.

71. Lucky Man Font 5+
Climb up to undercut through the roof, and then continue up the fragile flutings.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

72. Tainted Love Font 5
Directly up to a hanging flake. A good sustained problem.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

73. Sambo Pati Font 4+
Up the first bubbly weakness, interesting route finding!
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

74. Walk a Thin Line Font 4
The right-hand bubbly weakness.

75. Griff’s Traverse Font 6a
A good pumpy left to right traverse.
Griff Griffith 1995

76. Super low level Traverse Font 4+
An easier left to right traverse very low in places.

Buttress Three
This buttress is split by a wide crack towards the left end.

77. Changes Font 4
The bubbly wall left of the wide crack.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

78. Squeeze and Squirm Font 3
The interesting wide crack.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

79. Juggler Font 4+
The wall immediately right and just left of a recess.

80. Audi Quatro Font 5
Start two metres right of the wide crack of Squeeze and Squirm. Climb the centre of the recess and the roof above.

81. Turbo Charged Font 5+
Five metres right of wide crack (Squeeze & Squirm). From the back of the shallow cave climb the wall up to the undercut and over the roof.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

82. Theft Font 5
Climb into a shallow recess, exit right around the overhang.

83. Larcony Font 5
A direct start to Theft.

84. For Someone Very Special Font 2
The obvious leftward rising traverse. If the traverse is continued to Squeeze Squirm (ie staying just above the roof and not rising much at all) then it's more like 4a.

85. Standard Traverse Font 6b+
Start at the right end of the buttress by the initials JO and climb easily left to a good flat hold, then hard moves past an obvious knob to another flat hold, continue up following dinner plates into a recess, round a bulge into Squeeze and Squirm, up to the break until a drop down below the final bulge to finish.

86. Low Level Traverse Font 7a+
Start at the right end of the buttress by the initials JO and climb easily left to a good flat hold, past an obvious “Tennis Ball” knob as for the Standard Traverse. Now drop down to a three-finger flake, and then technical and powerful moves through the recess then up again to join the Standard Traverse as Audi Quatro is reached near the centre of the recess.

87. Griff’s Variations Font 7a
A number of various problems based around the “Tennis Ball” are possible.
Griff Griffith 1995

Buttress Four
This is the buttress immediately north of the Isolated Buttress.

88. Just for the Record Font 4
The arête at the left end of the buttress.

89. It’s Just a Passing Phase Font 5
The steep wall just right of the arête. Crimps lead to a sandy layaway, then direct to finish.

90. Ain’t No Lullaby Font 5
Climb the wall direct to a small triangular roof.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

Four Aint No Lullaby Font 5 © Steve Crowe
Just to the left is a small shallow cave at ground level.

91. Wind Up Font 5
Start at the left side of the shallow cave. Using a big flat hold move up past the undercut to an obvious slot. Finish direct.
Ian Dunn and Stuart Bradley 1981/82 solo

92. Gordini Font 5
Start at the right hand end of the shallow cave and climb direct.

93. Oh Carol Font 5
Climb the wall at the right end of the buttress up sandy layaways then over the roof.

94. Misplaced Childhood Font 3
Climb the short wall directly to the sapling.

95. Girdle Traverse Font 7a
Start at the right hand end of the buttress, move into the corner of Oh Carol. A hard sequence of moves lead left round the bulge to gain sloping holds. Heel hooks on the broken rock enable a reach to the undercuts to be made, and then drop down to a big flat hold and a frantic rest. From here a rising leftwards traverse is made using painful hand swaps on small edges lunge up and left to a good side pull and continue more easily to the arête.


More details regarding the bouldering at this venue at betaguides.co.uk


Full details in the

North East England Guide


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