Restricted Access

The south side of the gorge is privately owned by Cheddar Caves & Gorge and forms part of the Longleat Estate. It is not Open Access land under the CRoW Act (2000), unlike the National Trust owned land on the north side of the Gorge. Cheddar is unique in the fact that many of the crags are directly above a busy road which forms part of a major tourist attraction in the area. Unlike many crags, where a dropped piece of gear or rock is unlikely to have any impact on a member of the public, in Cheddar it has far greater potential to injure a visitor or damage a car. 

Because of this, for climbing on the south side the year is split into three seasons according to the number of visitors to the gorge.  During the busiest periods, all crags on the south side are closed, during the moderately busy periods only the restored routes (which have been cleared of loose rock as far as possible) on the south side are open, and during quiet periods all routes are open. These seasons are based on school and public holidays so change slightly every year.

Anyone climbing on the south side of Cheddar Gorge must carry civil liability cover of at least £10 million. This comes as standard with BMC or MCofS membership or can be organised separately. BMC/MCofS membership cards or details of your individual policy must be carried as proof of cover whilst climbing on the south side of the Gorge and the climbing warden and CC&G staff carry out frequent checks. Civil liability is also recommended for anyone climbing on the north side of the Gorge, but is not a requirement.

The BMC Cheddar Gorge Access Map has full details of which areas can be accessed during which periods. This should be considered required reading for any climber visiting the Gorge, regardless of which side or area you plan to climb on. A trial started in 2019 allows additional access to some areas so check the map before you visit as new year round access is available on three crags, but climbers need to demonstrate an ability to follow the agreed restrictions to make this a permanent lifting of restrictions.

The latest guide to the Gorge - 'Cheddar Gorge Climbs' (M. Crocker, 2015) – has a definitive list of restored routes on the south side as well as routes on the north side. It is available from The Gorge Outdoors shop in Cheddar village, as well as other climbing and outdoor shops in the area.

The latest guide to the Gorge - 'Cheddar Gorge Climbs' (M. Crocker, 2015) – has a definitive list of restored routes on the south side as well as routes on the north side. It is available from The Gorge Outdoors shop in Cheddar village, as well as other climbing and outdoor shops in the area.

It has been reported that there is some confusion or misunderstanding of the use of the terms "restored" and "unrestored" routes in relation to access.  Restored routes are trad routes that were cleaned and equiped with lower off bolts, and sport routes that were  bolted or rebolted and equipped.  This work was carried out as part of the Cheddar Gorge Climbing project between 2003 - 2005.  All these routes are described in the current guide book  - Cheddar Gorge Climbs by Martin Crocker.  The access agreement  only includes routes found in this guide.  Some restored routes in the guide remain as winter only routes. This includes most of the multi pitch routes in the gorge. Full details are in the guide.  The climbs on the South side listed in previous guide books and not found in the current  book, including the previous CC guides are winter access only - 1st October -- 15th March.

Annual loose rock removal carried out by the landowners has nothing to do with access changes for climbers and has no bearing on on the climbing access agreements.  It is carried out entirely in the interest of safety for visitors to the gorge.

 

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 16 March to 30 September

Reason: Public Safety

Due to the proximity of Cheddar's cliffs to the road and tourists below, there are complex access restrictions which vary depending on the time of year and section of cliff on the south side of the Gorge. These restrictions are fully detailed in the BMC's Cheddar Gorge Access Map.

Please ensure you follow the access agreements detailed on the map to ensure that future access is able to continue. It is imperative that climbers self police otherwise access permission may be withdrawn by the landowner Cheddar Caves & Gorge.

6 pitches. Steeped in tradition. A big day out for most parties. E1 4c, 4b, 5b, 5a, 5b, 4c

Climbing this is only permitted during the winter season, between 1st October and 15th March.

Ticklists

Hard Rock , Top 25 UKC Wishlist Rock Climbs , Victim Of Mathematics' Ticklist of Extreme Justice , Classic Rock Climbs of Great Britain by Bill Birkett , Littlejohn South West Climbs , West Country Climbs , 100 best limestone climbs in Britain , MIA logbook must haves! , Rockfax West Country top 50 , Cheddar Intermediate , CLIMB Mag's Top 100 routes in Britain , Ultimate E1 ticklist , The BMC 70th Anniversary Ticklist , CUMC Ticklist , The best the UK has to offer for mere mortals (apart from the lakes cos its always wet) , 100 Best South West Mid Grade Routes , University of Exeter must tick's , Bristol Crack School , Hard Rock 2020 , South West Climbs - Pat Littlejohn (1st Ed.) , Hard Rock & Other Classics , So you think your an Avon Climber? , Devon and surrounding counties 50 E1 and some E2 and 1 E3 and an E4 , Top 25 E Grades in the southwest , South West in Extremis , Devon and surrounding counties, 51 E1, some E2, 1 E3 and an E9 , ROCKFAX TOP 50s upto e3 , E1-E3 adventure routes: seacliffs, outcrops just not mountains. , University of Exeter Climbing Club - Must Do!

Feedback

User Date Notes
jackmorford 13 Nov, 2022 Show βeta
βeta: The 5b pitches were hard, definitely high in the grade! I led pitches 2,3 and 5. Had a hard time trusting my feet, some very polished footholds kicking around. 3d climbing at times, mega route!
βeta?
Show beta
βeta: The 5b pitches were hard, definitely high in the grade! I led pitches 2,3 and 5. Had a hard time trusting my feet, some very polished footholds kicking around. 3d climbing at times, mega route!
Boomanreach 10 Oct, 2021 Show βeta
βeta: Large wobbly block size of mini fridge next to the pegs at belay 3 (post traverse). Care is needed when handled should not be used for gear placement. Alternative nut placement can be found above.
βeta?
Show beta
βeta: Large wobbly block size of mini fridge next to the pegs at belay 3 (post traverse). Care is needed when handled should not be used for gear placement. Alternative nut placement can be found above.
Lankcroft 16 Oct, 2019 Show βeta
βeta: Felt extremely green, especially the bottom pitch. We had to clear a path through the nettles to reach the base so I guess we were the first party up it since the ban ended - maybe it'll clean up with some more traffic!
βeta?
Show beta
βeta: Felt extremely green, especially the bottom pitch. We had to clear a path through the nettles to reach the base so I guess we were the first party up it since the ban ended - maybe it'll clean up with some more traffic!
hpm2105 26 Dec, 2016 Show βeta
βeta: A much anticipated Boxing Day excursion. Nice weather, only cold when seconding, leading was fine. I led 1,4. P Welford led 2,3,5. Everything was going swimmingly until P Welford took a head down ~20m screamer just as he topped out into the sunshine (ripping gear and landing halfway down pitch 4). First pitch a bit long and muddy/polished. Shield was enjoyable. Final pitch was horrid and chossy hence massive whipper. In hindsight we probably went the wrong way up the crack rather than diagonally right. A Boxing Day Bruiser.
βeta?
Show beta
βeta: A much anticipated Boxing Day excursion. Nice weather, only cold when seconding, leading was fine. I led 1,4. P Welford led 2,3,5. Everything was going swimmingly until P Welford took a head down ~20m screamer just as he topped out into the sunshine (ripping gear and landing halfway down pitch 4). First pitch a bit long and muddy/polished. Shield was enjoyable. Final pitch was horrid and chossy hence massive whipper. In hindsight we probably went the wrong way up the crack rather than diagonally right. A Boxing Day Bruiser.
Richard Weller 13 Oct, 1984 Show βeta
βeta: Backed off the pull over the first roof the weekend before. Spent hte whole week back in London psyching myself up for it. Returned and cruised up.
βeta?
Show beta
βeta: Backed off the pull over the first roof the weekend before. Spent hte whole week back in London psyching myself up for it. Returned and cruised up.

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Voting
High E2
Mid E2
Low E2
High E1
Mid E1
Low E1
High HVS
Mid HVS
Low HVS
Votes cast 160
High 5c
Mid 5c
Low 5c
High 5b
Mid 5b
Low 5b
High 5a
Mid 5a
Low 5a
Votes cast 152
Votes cast 147
Style of Ascent
Alt Leads
Lead
Followed
Soloed
Not Set
Onsighted
Repeated
DNF
Dogged
Flashed (β)
Redpoint
Ground Up
Not Set
Route of Interest
Sullenberger (WW)

Grade: E1 5c ***
(Cheddar Gorge South)

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