Caretaker Quarry

Ian Milward embarking on the fingery Amistad. Photo: Gary Gibson


This is a huge quarry with a very expansive array of impressive walls. Some of these have produced a network of quality traditional climbs, not unlike Pembroke whilst other walls have provided some superb sport climbs.

Many of these sport climbs are of significant height (20m+) and are of a quality of rock more akin to Portland than anywhere else in the country.

In some ways a difficult place to locate but once found, the parking proves very convenient and the cliff is only 5 minutes walk from the car. It is situated on the hill at Middleton Top, the quarry overlooking Black Rocks and the town of Worksworth.


It should be made clear that Tarmac does not consent to any climbing activity on its property and that this site in no way aims to encourage climbers to participate in such activities there.


Caretaker approach map

Slightly complex. Take any road into Cromford via the A6 and turn right, when coming from Matlock Bath, at the traffic lights. Go straight up the hill until Black Rocks will be seen on the left and turn right, signposted for Ashbourne. At the next cross roads, go straight across, past the Rising Sun public house. In 200m take a right turn, signposted for Middleton Top. Follow this road but do not turn into the car park but follow the gravel track for 400m to a parking place on the left by a stone building (Possibly disallowed now in which case the Middle Top Pay’n’Display may be the best bet). The quarry entrance lies 50m ahead, This point can also be reached from Ashbourne by following the road past Carsington Water and taking a left turn onto the aforementioned road - difficult to spot.


Caretaker layout map

Once inside the quarry it will be very apparent of its vast size. A number of extremely worthwhile traditional routes (to be reported shortly) have been done on the identified walls but the sport climbs lie on two walls: the Take Away Wall lies straight ahead on a small left-facing subsidiary wall of the main quarry: the Darkness Walls provide the main left-hand flank of the quarry with an array of long, ‘fused’ lines on angled walls.

The Back Wall

The Back Wall layout

The large back wall of the quarry, very similar to St Govan’s Head in appearance gives a host of very good traditional pitches with the occasional sport and mixed pitches.

The wall can be divided into three main sectors the most central of which provides some very good pitches. These sections are subdivided as follows:

Amistad Walls: these stretch from the right-hand side of the wall which has a scree slope below it to a long slim grooveline almost in the centre of the walls. Here can be found a handful of excellent and long pitches in the mid extreme grade.

Numero Walls: dominated by the central crackline of the wall, these offer half a dozen superb wall pitches on fine rock with an amount of fixed gear. The Giant Pot, Big Thing Coming and For Intake’s Sake should not be missed.

Abide Walls: the left-hand side of the walls are identified by a prominent mud-filled chimney with an impressive left-hand arĂȘte, itself providing another classic pitch.