Preserving Sirhowy Crag: A Climbing Community’s Fight for a Natural Gem

by Tom Wood | Dec 14, 2023 | Stories

Preserving Sirhowy Crag: A Climbing Community’s Fight for a Natural Gem

Sirhowy Crag, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of South Wales, is facing a pivotal moment in its existence. The beloved Sandstone climbing destination, boasting over 5000 climbs and 79 routes, is up for sale. In response to this, the British Mountaineering Council Land and Property Trust is embarking on a mission to acquire the crag, not just as a piece of land but as a legacy for the climbing community and nature enthusiasts alike.

Sirhowy Crag: A Jewel in South Wales

Eben Muse, the Policy and Campaigns Officer for the British Mountaineering Council in Wales, eloquently describes Sirhowy as a “really special place.” In a recent chat with Crowdfunder, he painted a vivid picture of the crag, where on a summer’s afternoon, one can witness up to 20 people relishing the beauty of nature. The significance of Sirhowy extends beyond its climbing appeal; it serves as a haven where people connect with the outdoors, fostering a sense of community and well-being.

Outdoor Activities and Mental Health in South-East Wales

Eben highlighted the broader context of the campaign, emphasizing the importance of outdoor activities in improving mental health, particularly in a region like south-east Wales, known for being one of the most deprived areas in Europe. He shared, “There’s a lot of work that’s been going on with various outdoor providers to use the outdoors as a mechanism for improving people’s wellbeing.” Sirhowy Crag, with its scenic allure, stands as a crucial asset in this initiative, offering a natural retreat for individuals seeking solace and mental rejuvenation.

Navigating Challenges and Seeking Extra Funding

Campaigns of this magnitude often face challenges, and Sirhowy Crag is no exception. Eben acknowledged the ups and downs, citing a dip in their progress. However, the campaign received a substantial boost from the Save Our Wild Isles Community Fund and Aviva Community Fund. Eben expressed the transformative impact of this additional funding, describing it as a “massive injection of extra growth.” The success of the campaign, he emphasized, would be “night and day” different with this crucial financial support.

Crowdfunding as an Empowering Force

Reflecting on the experience of utilizing the Crowdfunder platform, Eben Muse had nothing but praise. “My experience has been very, very, very positive,” he shared. Crowdfunding, according to him, is more than just a means of raising funds; it’s a way to empower the community to make a real difference. The collaborative nature of the crowdfunding model aligns with the ethos of shared responsibility in managing and preserving Sirhowy Crag.

Sirhowy Crag stands not only as a climbing destination but as a symbol of the harmonious relationship between humans and nature. The campaign to acquire and preserve this gem exemplifies the strength of community-driven initiatives and the profound impact they can have on both the landscape and the lives of those who cherish it. As the climbing community rallies together, the hope is to see Sirhowy Crag continue to thrive, providing joy and inspiration for generations to come.

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