The Frome river cuts through the landscape north east of Bristol, creating a valley whose sides are scattered with sandstone outcrops and old quarries. For many climbers in Bristol this quiet place has defined the essence of esoteric and been shunned in comparison to Avon Gorge. The rock here is dirty, frequently wet, and often breaks unexpectedly. The occasional whiff of sewage can be smelt in the air. Or perhaps the ghosts of one of Bristol’s most haunted spots have scared everyone away?
Yet a few local activists have been exploring this intriguing place over the years. People like Ron King, Rob Kingston, Dave Vousden, Martin Crocker, Mark Davies, and Guy Percival have embraced cobwebs, park wardens, dogs, and risk to create a series of climbs throughout the valley. In the process they have come to realise the true meaning of esoteric.