Rock ClimbingThe climbing at Flimston Bay can be split into nine areas: Flimston Ridge, Flimston Stack, Barrel Slab, Bifters Buttress, Flimston Slab, Oribit Wall Area, Trio Wall Area, Bow-Shaped Slab and Crocksydam Point. All crags described are in some way affected by the tide, the degree of which depending of the time of year and weather.
Climbs are listed from left to right, and are graded and rated with the aid of the Climbers’ Club Guide to Pembroke, the Pembroke Supplement and the new Rockfax Pembroke guide, so for full descriptions, please refer to these books. In addition to these sources, Rockfax’s website has descriptions for the routes included in their book, which can be viewed on their online route Database.
Routes are graded using the British Adjectival Grading System. Technical grades are generally only given to climbs graded adjectivally as Severe (S) or above. A conversion table of international climbing grades by SP member Corax is available HERE! With the exception of Tenby South Beach Quarry, bolting is strictly prohibited anywhere in Pembrokeshire, so don’t even think about it here.
Please note that good anchors (or any anchors at all for that matter) can be hard to find on many of the cliff tops. A quick recce before committing is advised.
The West Face of Flimston Ridge is home to a good number of quality high end routes of both the single and multi-pitch variety. Access can easily be gained by descending the crest of the ridge from sea level and then traversing in on an obvious break around 10 metres height. The right-hand part of the face has provided some easy and short climbs for beginners but the meat of the ridge, described below, can be found further left. There is a nesting restriction between the 1st March and 15th August.
This is the larger landward of the two stacks on the western side of the bay. Flakaway takes its right side while Thieves can be found on the shattered wall behind it.
Above the beach to the east of Flimston Ridge is a convex buttress with an overhanging base and a large grassy slab above. Access all routes in this area either by abseil or by scrambling down Flimston Ridge.
Further east is a huge rotten looking slab that is set back from the main cliffs and is cut off by high tide.
A little further east again is a small overhanging wall.
The slab left of Flimston Slab has a huge overhang running across it and four chimneys on its left side at around sea-level. Approach by abseil.
A superb little slab with some fantastic low-grade climbs. Flimston Crack is just sublime. Range Rocks Keep Falling on My Head is on a buttress 10 metres to the east of Flimston Slab. Routes are best reached by abseil.
Oribit Wall Area
This area is directly west of the Trio Wall Area and has an obvious rock island at its top. Best approach is by abseil.
Trio Wall Area
Around 100 metres east of Flimston Slab is a wall below below a grass slope which is flanked by zawns below and broken ridges above. Access the routes by abseil.
The awesome Bow-Shaped Slab lies in the eastern corner of the Flimston Bay area. It has a distinctive concave profile and is easily recognisable on the approach. Abseil in or down climb the broken slab left of Bomb Corner at about Moderate.
Directly opposite but at right angles to Bow-Shaped Slab is a small compact cliff.
Forming the west side of Crocksydam Point is an area of huge overhangs and rotten rock. Just right of this is a slanting slabby groove with predominate pink patch up its right hand side. The following routes are on the seaward arête of this slab.
This is the impressive headland separating Flimstone Bay in the west and Crystal Slabs and Bullslaughter Bay in the east. It is easily identifiable by a large rock arch which sits on a landward slanting slab. The face on the south east tip of the point is small, compact and gives some good climbing. The East Face is subject to a bird restriction wich runs from the 1st March to the 31st July. This only effects one route, Ring of Bright Water.
Weather Conditions and Tides
This section displays the weather forecast for Bosherston, which is located just to the east of Flimston Bay. This gives a pretty good indication of what the weather will be like on the crag, as both Bosherston and the Flimston Bay area sit at around sea level.
Tide times can have a significant impact on where and when one climbs. It is therefore extremely important to check the timetables before embarking on trip to the area. UK tides information for all standard and secondary ports is provided by the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), and displayed on the BBC's website. The link below provides a link to the nearest port to Flimston Bay:
When to Climb and Essential GearThe most reliable conditions are in the summer, but the low altitude of the crag may make it a viable option in winter. The gear needed depends entirely on the routes you plan to do. Easier routes will only require a moderate rack, while harder routes will require a something more comprehensive; a good compliment of friends or other camming devices will certainly help. A singe 50 metre rope should serve well on most easy routes, however, twin or double ropes would be a wise choice for the harder stuff. In addition to your usual gear, you might want to bring along an abseil rope to speed up access to the base of the crag.
Getting ThereFlimston Bay is located in the Range East portion of the Castlemartin Range.When approaching from Carmarthen (SN 405 196) take the A40 Truck Road signposted for Saint Clears (SN 274 160). At the Saint Clears roundabout, take the A477 Trunk Road towards Pembroke Dock (SM 969 036). Before reaching Pembroke Dock, turn left onto the A4075 (SN 019 027) to Pembroke (SM 989 012). In Pembroke, drive straight over the first small roundabout you reach and drive along the A4139 a few hundred metres and turn left and take the B4319 south towards Castlemartin ( SR 915 983). Around 500m after the Merrion Camp (SR 939 968), take a left hand turn at a crossroads (SR 931 970) and drive down an unclassified road to the Stack Rocks Car Park (SR 925 946).
Park at the Stack Rocks Car Park and walk west along the coastal path, past Elegug Stacks and The Cauldron. Flimstone Bay (SR 931 946) is the first large sandy bay after The Cauldron, it can be identified by the presence of two small sea stacks near its centre. The crags of this area stretch from Flimston Ridge (SR 930 944), which is on the western side of the bay to Crocksydam Point (SR 935 942), which is marked on the Ordnance Survey map as Moody Nose. The headland is easily identifiable by a large rock arch which sits on a landward slanting slab. All crags as best accessed via abseil.
Red Tape and Access
Flimston Bay is located in the Range East portion of the Castlemartin Range. This area is an Army firing range, although they do not use exploding ammunition. Access is permitted whenever firing is not taking place, which is normally on Weekends, Bank Holidays, and in the evenings (after 4.30). The night firing normally occurs on alternate Mon/Wed and Tues/Thurs nights. The Range is sometimes open during the week, but it is best to check before travelling. Phone the 24 hour help line on (01646) 662367.
Because the Flimston Bay area forms part of a Special Protection Area and is an extremely important site for breeding and nesting choughs (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), parts of it are affected by seasonal bird restrictions. Between 1st March and 15th August climbing is completely banned on the west face of Flimston Ridge and the eastern side Crocksydam Point. It should be noted that Pembroke nesting restrictions are complex and vary annually. Please check the notice boards in Stack Rocks or St. Govan’s car parks for more information. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority also produce an excellent annual information leaflet illustrating the restricted areas on a clear map - download it from this LINK.
It is also available from the BMC, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Mrs Weston’s Café in Bosherston.
Camping and AccommodationThere’s an almost unlimited supply of accommodation within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park so it would be inappropriate to list it all here. For budget accommodation it’s worth checking out some of the following sites:
Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Independent Hostel Guide
Campsites in Pembrokeshire
For everything else and more see Visit Pembrokeshire’s website.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Council for National Parks
Association of National Park Authorities
Pembrokeshire County Council
Carmarthenshire County Council
Ceredigion County Council
Countryside Council for Wales
Forestry Commission Wales
Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments in Wales
Dyfed Archaeological Trust
The National Trust
Maritime and Coastguard Agency
Outdoor Organisations and Companies
British Mountaineering Council
Pembrokeshire Climbing Club
Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group
South Wales Mountaineering Club
The Climbers Club
Weather from the Met Office
Weather Channel UK
BBC Tide Tables
UK Hydrographic Office
South West Wales Tourism Partnership
Local Information from Pembrokeshire Pages
Local Information from Pembrokeshire Online
Welsh Public Transport Information
Uk Train Timetable
Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Independent Hostel Guide
Campsites in Pembrokeshire
Caerfai Organic Farm
Caerfai Bay Caravan and Tent Park
Maps and Guidebooks
Climbers Club Guidebooks
Mid Wales Climbing
Cordee Travel and Adventure Sports Bookshop
Wildlife and Conservation
Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre
South West Wales Wildlife Trust
Pembrokeshire Bird Group
Welsh Language Board
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg Welsh language pressure group
Cymuned Welsh language pressure group
Yr Urdd (Welsh Youth Association)
Welsh-English / English-Welsh online translator
Welsh-English / English-Welsh Online Dictionary
Welsh-English / English-Welsh Online Lexicon