Climbs 179
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 180m a.s.l
Faces W

Gordon working Things Ain't Like They Used To Be a 7a+ route at Reynard's Arch in Dovedale, Peak District © Adam Shelton

Crag features

The north-south gash of Dovedale has a fine set of climbs on the various bits of rock scattered along its length, and has long been a firm favourite with limestone climbers. Many of the climbs finish on proper summits which is an added attraction. The Dale is the most popular tourist destination in this guidebook; in summer hoards travel up and down the valley gazing in awe at the spires, fins and arches that make up the superb rock architecture scattered along the Dale. Ascents of the free-standing tower of Ilam Rock, and the climbs around the Doveholes in particular will always draw a crowd of onlookers and the Pickering Pinnacle and Tissington Spires are also quite public, though fortunately there are plenty of more discreet bits of rock for those who don't perform well in front of a crowd. Whatever your chosen destination, many pieces of rock described here are only home to a small set of quality routes, to get the most out of a good day's climbing out of a visit you will need to go to more than one buttress.

Approach notes

Dovedale is the valley between Thorpe Village at its southern end and Milldale at its northern end. It runs parallel to the main A515 Buxton to Ashbourne road which is the best road to gain access to the villages at either end. There is a large free car park in Milldale, and a large expensive car park just past the Izaak Walton Hotel at the Thorpe end. A substantial path follows the east bank of the river for the entire length of the dale and this gives access to Bailey Buttress, Dove Holes, Pickering Tor and Tissington Spires. The one bridge gives access to Ilam Rock but Dovedale Church and Ravens Tor usually require a spot of wading. More detailed approaches are given with each buttress.

Access Advice

Significant rockfall from the Pickering Pinnacle (on the route Pickering Ridge) was reported in June 2015. Caution is advised if climbing at the crag as this route and others nearby may have been affected by the rockfall.

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Peak Limestone

Selected guidebook covering the best trad and sport limestone crags in the Peak District.
More info

Northern England

The book is a selected route and crag guide although it still manages to pack over 2350 routes between its covers, spread across 44 crags. The main focus is on routes of all grades from Moderate to E9, but the best bouldering is also described.
More info
More Guidebooks:

Out of print:
The 'very expensive' carpark near Thorpe is only 2.50, so don't be too dispirited if you can't park at the free one to the North of the area!
Just Tintin - 29/Jun/15
I climbed there this weekend and getting to the routes was fine. There are quite a lot of nettles in the gullies, especially below John Peel area, but the paths are obvious. Quality trad limestone.
ctodd - 04/Sep/11
Hi Steph, I know that underused climbs can return to nature very quickly. I have climbed in the John Peel area recently and that seems fine - as does the Ten Craters area. The paths aren't the best I'd agree, but it's all part of the fun of limestone. Dovedale is managed by the National Trust - I'm not sure what their policy is on crag clean-ups. I'll raise it at the next BMC area meeting. Cheers, Alan
EarlyBird - 02/Aug/11
The climbs at Tissington Spires are very inacessible. I went 30th July 2011, and couldn't get anywhere near the rock, as so many plants/trees has spiralled out of control. It is a shame as it is a large area and looks like some great climbs. There are some sort of pathways up but they are very stoney and dangerous to climb with all your gear on your back. Would be good if it all got cut back to a decent level so it can be acessed. Don't believe the rockfax picture, nothing like it now!
climbingsteph - 01/Aug/11
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Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
 Baley Buttress
2Flying BlackberryE3 6a
3RibitE4 6b *
4Claw Left-HandHVS 5b **
5The ClawHVS 5a **
6Swallow TalesE3 6a
7Bill BaleyVS 4b *
8Cenotaph CornerS
9The BeakHS 4b
10An Air of DetachmentVS 4b
11The FilterVS 4c
12FiltrationHVS 5b
13Baley ChimneyVD
 Raven's Tor
15Tennessee WaltzHVS 5b *
16Southern RibE1 5b **
17The TemptressE5 6a **
18Deltoid ShuffleE4 5c *
19Left-hand RouteE1 5b **
20Sentinel Crack
21RavenE2 5c *
22Brown's BlunderVS 4c *
23AquariusE2 5c **
24Central WallE3 5c *
25Central Wall DirectE4 6b *
26JudasE5 6b *
27The DoldrumsE3 5c
28VeneryHVS 4c **
29Parrot FaceHVS 5a *
30SkewballVS 4c
31JugbitE2 5c
32Tendonitis SucksE5 6b
33Girdle Traverse
HVS ***
34Southern Gully
 Dove Holes
36The ArchersE5 6b
37The BallA2 *
38Pumping IronE5 6b *
39The UmpireE3 5c *
40Restricted PracticesE5 6b
41The WickedA2 *
42The BatA2 ***
43Middle StumpA2 ***
44Follow the BearE5 6b
45Police and ThievesE4 6a **
46Dynamic AidersA2 *
47Girdle Lip traverseA2 **
 Ilam Rock
49Original RouteHS 4a
50The Wong EdgeE3 6a **
51The GrooveE2 5c *
52The GladiatorE4 6a ***
53Steve's RouteE6 6c **
54Eye of the TigerE7 6c ***
55The White EdgeE3 6a *
56Easter IslandE1 5b **
57Easter Island-White Edge Connection
E2 5c
58Ducie island HVS 4c
 Pickering Tors
60Pickering RidgeVS 4b
61What Crisis?HVS 5a
62CrisisE5 6c
63Uncontrollable UrgeHVS 5a
64Daylight RobberyE1 5b
65Monsieur Mange ToutE5 6b *
66The RiverE4 6a
67The FlakeE1 5c *
68Pickering's OverhangE1 5b *
69Chunky PunkyHVS 5a
70Original RouteS 3c
72Final WitnessE2 5b *
73ThunderballE1 5b **
74Red EyeHVS 5b
75Suspended SentenceE5 6b *
76Harold WilsonE2 5b
77Palsy WallHVS 5a
78Beginner's LuckHS 4a *
79The Gargoyle SistersE5 6b *
 The Watchblock
81Wall of StrawsE5 6b ***
82Three Piece ComboE4 6a *
83Adjudicator WallE3 5c ***
84Nancy WhiskyE1 5b *
85Watchblock DirectHVS 5b
 Reynards Arch
87The Lime Arch6b+ **
88Jonah's Boner7c **
89Arch Rival7a *
90Arch Nemesis7b+ **
91Arch Enemies7c+ ***
92Sworn Enemy8a ***
93Things Ain't Like They Used to Be7a+ *
94Can you believe it6b
95Bo Bridgesf7B **
 Tissington Spires
 Chelsea Buttress
98Veteran's Chimney
S 4a *
99Thunder Rib
HS 4b
100Pensioner's Groove
VS 4b
101Roaring Forties
HVS 5a
102Bird Box Route
HVS 5b
103Slime Traverse
VS 4c
 Campanile Pinnacle
105CampanileS 4a *
106London Bridge
E2 5b
107WhackoE3 5c *
108The Man with X-Ray EyesE2 5b *
VS 5b
111So This is Summer
E4 6c
 Sentinel Buttress
113Topsy Turvy
114Sentinel Crack
 Keep Buttress
116Finders Keepers
E3 6b
117Keeper's Crack
S 4b
HS 4c
 Back Wall
120Desolation Row
HVS 5a
121Victoria Falls
HVS 5a
HS 4b
123Model Worker
HVS 5a
124Rattus Norvegicus
HVS 4c
126Rose BowlHVS 5b
127Don van VlietE1 5c
128Ten Craters of WisdomVS 5a ***
129SimeonVS 4c *
130Simeon DirectHVS 5a **
131Archibald the GrimE2 5c *
E2 5c
133Sunburst and Snowblind
VS 4c
134Woodlouse Wall
VS 4c
135Flopsy Bunny goes to the Zoo
E1 5b
136Dovedale Chainsaw MassacreE2 5c
137Bird StreetE2 5c
 Silicon Wall
139SiliconHS 4b **
140Manna MachineVS 4c *
141Under PressureHVS 5b
142A Secret StateE3 5c *
HVS 5b
144DeflectorE1 4c
145Rumble RidgeS
 John Peel Wall
147MandarinHVS 4c
148BrutusE1 5b **
149There Will Be Blood8a *
150CaesarE4 6a **
151GeorgeE1 5b ***
152Destot's GapE5 6c
153Bye, GeorgeE3 5c *
154John PeelHVS 5a ***
155Black FlipE4 6a
156Wild BillE2 5c *
157Yew Tree WallE1 5c **
158Calamity JaneE1 5b
159Uncle SamHVS 5a
160Geronimo.E3 6a
161Orange PeelE3 6a *
162Faulty Towers
VS 4c
 South Gully Buttress
164Zulu DawnE5 6b *
165And the WeatherE1 5b
166Dr LivingstoneVS 4b
167The Mystery TourHS 4b
168Stanley WallVS 4c
169AmoebaHVS 5a
170Crazy HorseE3 5c *
 Dovedale Church
172Wild CountryE5 6c *
173HornerHS 4c
174Bob Can't CopeE3 5b
175Bob HopeE2 5b
176Cryptic CrackVD
177Crypt RouteS 4a *
178No Turning BackE5 6b *
179Sold Down the RiverE5 6b
181French Technique7a *
182American StyleE4 6b *
183Bolt it and Believe it7c *
184Tales of the RiverbankE5 6a ***
185Pogles' WoodE4 6a
186The RattlerHVS 5b *
187AnacondaE1 5b **
188Phil's RouteE2 5c ***
189JunglelandE5 6b ***
190AmazonaE6 6c ***
191Snakes AliveVS 4c ***
192Judge JeffriesHVS 5c *
193Quiet LifeE3 6a **
194Blue SisterE4 6a *
 Dovedale Castle
196Cat's Eye Corner
HVS 5b *
197Castle Crack
VS 5a
 Unknow / New / Awaiting Moderation
199The Jaguar SmileE4 6a
* Climbs listed in red are waiting to be checked by a crag moderator, and may not be accurate.

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