Bouldering Ecosystem

Key Facts:

Project summary:
A set of nine rock boulders in a country park for use by country park users of all ages as well novice and experienced climbers. The boulders are different shapes and sizes, some specifically for novices and some with thread belays for climbers who want to use top ropes. Route map for bouldering on the website showing different routes, the grading of routes and giving handy tips on how to get the best out of the bouldering experience.

Location: Fairlop Waters Country Park in the London Borough of Redbridge

Programme: Informal use, intended for solo climbing. Potential for bouldering courses to be run on the site

Initiator: London Borough of Redbridge

Project Duration: Started the project in 2009 and opened in June 2010

Lead in Time: About 4-5 months to develop the project and put it out to tender, about 4-5 months to construct but includes weather delays

Site Area: Various sizes on the site

Client Team: London Borough of Redbridge

Project Team: Development team members plus a surveyor

Funding Sources: London Mayor’s Priority Parks Programme

Funding Type: Grant

Project Costs (Build): Construction cost of £243k incl. considerable hard landscaping beforehand, design, materials, labour and bouldering guide

Project Costs (Operation): Repairs – minimal, maintenance included in the regular park maintenance routine, daily visual inspections etc. No dedicated staffing costs

Profitability/Loss: N/A Integrated into park running costs

Permissions / Permits: None needed

Local Links: Local outdoor activity centre 100 yards from the site, potential for instructors to support groups/ schools but little demand as they do bouldering by themselves

Publicity/advertising: Website, leaflets at climbing shops/ walls/ blogs

Project Evaluation:

Site Details & Ownership: Country Park owned by London Borough of Redbridge and managed by Vision, Redbridge Culture and Leisure

Project Reach / Visitors / Target Audience:
Aimed at engaging visitors to the park and others interested in climbing. Attracts all kinds of people – children and young people, parents, families, walkers, scout/ guide groups, schools as well as climbers from all over London – ‘you can see them getting off the tube with their climbing mat on their back coming to the park’. Very busy in the summer, especially at weekends and in the evenings, still used during the winter. Spontaneous and organised use.

Problems Encountered / Overcome:
Construction delays over the winter “but it was better to do it during the winter with were fewer people to climb over the boulders as they were being constructed – would have been difficult to manage during the summer”.
No safety issues.

Feedback from users / staff:
Very popular, they like it, it’s on their route as they go through the park. A good outdoor bouldering experience.

What next?
The boulders have been very successful, no plans to change it.

Complementary Programmes: None needed

Project Website / Further Info:

  • Fairlop Waters boulder park:
  • Rockworks, the company that designed and built it:
  • The concept of the bouldering park is based on bouldering at Fontainebleau: