/ NEWS: Cheddar Gorge Access Issues

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Rob Dyer, BMC - on 26 Apr 2012
Following a number of climbing parties being found in areas of the Gorge that are outside of the climbing access agreement for this time of year, the BMC has been contacted by the landowner, Cheddar Coves & Gorge, who are concerned that climbers are not taking the access agreement seriously. Please make sure that you are within the agreed open areas if climbing in the Gorge this summer or access for all may be at risk.

Full details here: http://www.thebmc.co.uk/problems-in-cheddar By following the access calendar and Cheddar Gorge Climbers Code of Conduct (both linked to in the article), you will be helping to maintain access to a unique and beautiful climbing area for the future.

Cheers,
Rob Dyer
BMC Access & Conservation Officer (English Regions)

NOW ON THE UKC NEWS PAGE: http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67082
ericinbristol - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:

That's terrible, and a worrying threat to access. I am really sorry to hear that anyone is doing this and abusing Cheddar Caves and Gorge staff. It is not representative of most Cheddar climbers. I would encourage fellow climbers if they see anyone climbing out of bounds to go and ask them to stop. I've done that before and it has worked out okay.
ericinbristol - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:

A further thought: the signs are there and you can read them at the access points but they are in tiny print on small notices. How about much larger notices saying 'This part of the Gorge is closed to climbing until ...' or something like that in big letters with all the detail below? It makes it harder for the try-it-ons to say they didn't see the notice.
highclimber - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC: can someone explain what a verbal beasting is?
DrGav - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to ericinbristol:

Bigger signs is definitely a good idea - would be a massive loss to have access further restricted or worse still taken away.
dale1968 - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to highclimber: you really nead that explaining? they gobbed off, were lippy, ect ect not polite and contrite....
AJM - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:

Oh ffs. Selfish or ignorant or both, who cares, but if they ruin it for the rest of us, especially the locals who use the improved access week in week out over the summer.....
BALD EAGLE - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:

This is completely unnacceptable and, as usual, I suspect a small selfish minority are doing their best to put the access agreement at risk. There is more than enough access information on signs, guidebooks and on the net so come on folks make sure you do the right thing...
3 Names - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to BALD EAGLE:

bump
Mark Stevenson - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to DrGav:
> Bigger signs is definitely a good idea - would be a massive loss to have access further restricted or worse still taken away.

That is exactly what I suggested should happen at the BMC Open Meeting around 3? years ago that actually took place in Cheddar. However lots of other people there, rubbished the idea and said that blatant and prominent signs were not the way forward.

It was my opinion then, that really clear, obvious and unmissable signage was required and I still think that now - at least as a first step and to show the landowner that the climbing community is attempting to be responsible and fully communicate the agreed restrictions.

The solution I suggested was for the BMC/ACT etc. to fund large obvious switchable open/closed signs at all Buttress and access points that can be easily locked in the appropriate position by Cheddar Gorge staff. Ideally similar 'open' signs would be placed at the other buttresses where there are no restrictions so that even the most casual visitor can be under no allusions about where they can and cannot climb in the Gorge.

The Gorge has a massive busy road through the middle of it, so it is not anywhere approaching a wild place where signage should be minimised.

Also, I would even go as far as suggesting additional action at the level of some individual routes. Plastic tags/labels on the first bolt saying 'route currently banned' would be my suggestion as well as equivalent removable signs at the base of traditional routes that infringing climbers might be likely to attempt.

Responsible climbers (via the BMC) need to get a grip of this situation and if it means the BMC digging into OUR money to fund proper signage then it should just get on with it.

However, I am completely aware that some people are just idiots and will choose to blatantly ignore restrictions and quite frankly I think the best thing for everyone concerned would be that Cheddar Caves and Gorges staff immediately call the police if any staff are verbally abused by any irresponsible climbers in the future.
ericinbristol - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to Mark Stevenson:

I agree with all of this. Action needs to be taken to ensure *before* CCG act against all climbers and end access.
Scarab - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:



Didnt even know there was an acess limitation.

What sort is it, bird ban or just restricted areas throughout the whole year?
SCC - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to Scarab:

"Full details here: http://www.thebmc.co.uk/problems-in-cheddar By following the access calendar and Cheddar Gorge Climbers Code of Conduct (both linked to in the article), you will be helping to maintain access to a unique and beautiful climbing area for the future."

Two mouse clicks and all is explained.

Si
andybenham - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to Mark Stevenson: Agree with what you say on this. It would be a massive tragedy if the access was restricted again.

There is already a plastic plaque showing the access details at the base on Coronation street which you cannot really miss. Obviously not practical or preferable to post a notice below all such routes but worthwhile beneath key ones (space hunter, castles, etc?) and notices at each access point on the south side would be good. There is already something similar in place detailing the parking restrictions so this would not be out of keeping.

Perhaps worth considering a fairly large board right at the entrance to the gorge detailing the entire access agreement too. After all as pointed out it can hardly be argued that such sign-age would be ruining a wild space since the entire gorge is a very busy place with plenty of signs in place already.

I am not surprised to hear people have climbed routes out of season in error or ignorance but to find people are kicking off at staff when asked to stop is depressing. Morons.
The Ex-Engineer - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to andybenham:
> I am not surprised to hear people have climbed routes out of season in error or ignorance...

Whether it is people genuinely being ignorant or using ignorance as an excuse is debatable. It is probably a mix of both.

However what is certain is that clearer signage should help stop both. It will prevent cases of mistakes through genuine ignorance and eliminate it as an excuse/justification from those climbers who should know better.

morpcat - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:

I myself have been confused by the signage and the agreements. The guidebook I was using was an old edition that was very out of date, and the signage in the gorge did not adequately mark all the out-of-bounds cliffs. I went to buy an updated guidebook, but the few likely looking shops in town were out of stock.

Was very fortunate to bump into Martin Crocker who was able to provide some proper advice!
philhilo - on 27 Apr 2012
It is slightly unfortunate that Cheddar Caves and Gorge would only allow Cheddar climbs in 'their' guidebook by Martin Crocker, which is now only readily available in one shop in the Gorge (in Feb this year), thus making hard copy info less easy to come by. Online info very good however to cover all bases better signage would help in the Gorge. No exscuses for abuse.
johncoxmysteriously - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to andybenham:

>I am not surprised to hear people have climbed routes out of season in error or ignorance

I agree, and I also agree with Mark S; I don't really understand why anyone wouldn't want clear signage, and unless it's changed from what it was like a month ago it's not exactly unmissable at the moment. Not everyone even has the internet never mind having the presence of mind to check it before going out to climb.

> but to find people are kicking off at staff when asked to stop is depressing. Morons.

While I don't disagree, sometimes people who ask climbers to stop are quie unrealistic. I remember being told to 'come down from there immediately' by a birdwatcher while engaged on a tricky trad lead at Uphill Quarry (and, as far as I knew either then or now, being outside the restricted area). This fellow wouldn't shut up and was distracting my belayer and me, and a certain amount of fairly industrial language got used - no doubt deplorable, but the first priority on these occasions is for no-one to end up dead, especially me.

Obviously I wasn't there and I'm not saying this was a similar situation, but it isn't always black and white.

jcm
AJM - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to philhilo:

You can buy the guide online, so even if it's not in your local shop there's no reason not to have it if you're going.....

AJM - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to morpcat:

I think though that if you follow the rules in any of the older guides you shouldn't transgress - I can't think of anywhere where access is now more restrictive than in the 1992 or 2004 guides - anyone?

If you have an old guide and can't work it out from the signage then the best thing to do is to play it safe.....
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