Dale Quarry is something of a lost world. Located just a few hundred metres from the bustling town centre of Wirksworth this 30 metre hole in the ground is completely cut off from the rest of the world, aside from occasional visiting climbers.
The quarry was first climbed by Seb Grieve in 1987 when he added the classic Handy Wallhole up the centre of the slab. Interest was revived in 2019 when Simon Cundy retrobolted the route and added a fine 7b+ just to the left, Underground Resistance. Dominic and Daniel Lee add several fine routes later the same year.
There are two contrasting sections. On the right is an impressive 30 metre steep, dark grey slab. To the left there is a steeper buttress of whitish rock with steeper climbing on good holds.
The slab comes into the sun around 4pm-ish in summer. The Steampunk buttress gets sun from around 2pm. In good conditions the quarry dries out quickly after rain. In cooler or more humid conditions the porous nature of the rock will sometimes remain damp and greasy. Because of it’s ‘hole in the ground’ nature the rock can get quite wet after a heavy dew at night and can remain in that condition most of the day sometimes.
With only a few easier routes for those wanting to do some warm up routes first Colehill Quarry is good option. It’s nearby and only 2 minute walk from the car.
When travelling from the North go South on the A6 through Matlock and Matlock Bath and turn R at the traffic lights into Cromford and signposted to Wirksworth. Follow the road for about 2 miles into Wirksworth and turn right up West End. This is immediately before the Hope and Anchor pub and a pay and display car park. West End next to a parking area. Drive up the hill for 300m and past the sign for the Almark garage on the right. There is a parking spot for several cars a bit further on, on the right, or just park on the road nearby.
Walk into the entrance road for the Almark garage and head for a hedge about 30 metres straight ahead, usually behind some parked cars. A gap in the hedge on the right side, just left of a telephone pole, gives access to a path. Follow this until an old climbing rope can be found. Follow this down a slippery path to the quarry base.