Though labelled Volume One, this is the second to be published (Nov 2007) of a new series to the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean. "The Sandstone Outcrops of the Forest of Dean" by Martin Crocker appeared in 2006, and a new Symonds Yat guide, including also the central Forest quarries and the Cotswolds, should follow in two or three years' time.The 432 pages are printed in full colour throughout in the new Climbers' Club guidebook design, and the book is generously illustrated with maps, photodiagrams, and a wide selection of action photos.The guide has been compiled by a mixed team of experienced Wye Valley hands and younger activists, and the work has incorporated not only a radical reassessment of virtually all the climbs but also substantial cleaning and regearing of all those considered worthwhile. This operation was spearheaded by the GO Wall Restoration Project undertaken by Martin Crocker in late 2005 (funded by the Access and Conservation Trust, and The Climbers' Club Colin Kirkus Guidebook Fund).The Lower Wye crags (Wynd Cliff, Wintour's Leap, Ban-y-gor, Tintern Quarry, Shorn Cliff) now offer a huge variety of excellent climbing: trad routes in all grades from Moderate to E6 and sport climbs from F4 to F7c+.
The sport climb descriptions are printed on a pale orange-coloured background for quick recognition, while the unrecommended and unrestored routes are set on a light grey background.A complete set of new path and crag-base maps for Wintour's Leap and Shorn Cliff has been surveyed by members of the team and redrawn inimitably by Don Sargeant. It is hoped that these will mitigate the notorious problems people sometimes experience locating the buttresses and climbs amongst the trees at these two crags.There is a brief historical overview in the usual slot after the Introduction, and there are a number of mini crag historicals printed on yellow panels throughout the book. However, the main and more detailed threads are woven into the first ascents list, now entitled Chronology (this latter may be a feature also in some future CC guides).The usual index of climbs is brightened up by the inclusion of thumbnail-type replicas of all the main action photos, and there is also an index of crags and crag features with replicas of the photodiagrams.