Climbs 186
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.

Restricted Access

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.

Rockfax App

Available in the Rockfax App

The Rockfax App brings together all the Rockfax climbing information with UKC logbooks and presents it into a user-friendly package for use on Apple iOS devices (Android version to follow).


Peak Limestone

Selected guidebook covering the best trad and sport limestone crags in the Peak District.
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
Login as Existing User to add your comments

Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
 Baley Buttress 
2Flying BlackberryE3 6a 2
3RibitE4 6b * 
4Claw Left-HandHVS 5b **10
5The ClawHVS 5a **32
6Swallow TalesE3 6a  
7Bill BaleyVS 4b *7
8Cenotaph CornerS  
9The BeakHS 4b  
10An Air of DetachmentVS 4b  
11The FilterVS 4c  
12FiltrationHVS 5b  
13Baley ChimneyVD  
 Raven's Tor 
15JackdawVS 4c  
16Flying TroutE2 5c  
17Short WallVS 4c  
18The DoddleHS  
19Tennessee WaltzHVS 5b *3
20Southern RibE1 5b **76
21The TemptressE5 6a **9
22Deltoid ShuffleE4 5c *31
23Left-hand RouteE1 5b **90
24Sentinel Crack
S 2
25RavenE2 5c *27
26Brown's BlunderVS 4c *27
27AquariusE2 5c **34
28Central WallE3 5c *29
29Central Wall DirectE4 6b * 
30JudasE5 6b * 
31The DoldrumsE3 5c 3
32VeneryHVS 4c **54
33Parrot FaceHVS 5a *13
34SkewballVS 4c 5
35JugbitE2 5c 1
36Tendonitis SucksE5 6b 1
37Girdle Traverse
HVS ***5
38Southern Gully
 Dove Holes 
40The ArchersE5 6b  
41The BallA2 *11
42Pumping IronE5 6b * 
43The UmpireE3 5c *11
44Restricted PracticesE5 6b 2
45The WickedA2 *17
46The BatA2 ***100
47Middle StumpA2 ***21
48Follow the BearE5 6b  
49Police and ThievesE4 6a **12
50Dynamic AidersA2 *3
51Girdle Lip traverseA2 **3
 Ilam Rock 
53Original RouteHS 4a 32
54The Wong EdgeE3 6a **12
55The GrooveE2 5c *21
56The GladiatorE4 6a ***28
57Steve's RouteE6 6c ** 
58The Final RoundXS 8a+/b *** 
59Eye of the TigerE7 6c ***21
60The White EdgeE3 6a *23
61Easter IslandE1 5b **289
62Easter Island-White Edge ConnectionE2 5c 6
63Ducie island HVS 4c 1
 Pickering Tors 
65Pickering RidgeVS 4b 6
66What Crisis?HVS 5a 3
67CrisisE5 6c 1
68Uncontrollable UrgeHVS 5a 1
69Daylight RobberyE1 5b  
70Monsieur Mange ToutE5 6b *2
71The RiverE4 6a  
72Pickering's OverhangE1 5b *22
73The FlakeE1 5c *6
74The Jaguar SmileE4 6a  
75Chunky PunkyHVS 5a 6
76Original RouteS 3c 3
78Final WitnessE2 5b *10
79ThunderballE1 5b **39
80Red EyeHVS 5b 3
81Suspended SentenceE5 6b * 
82Harold WilsonE2 5b  
83Palsy WallHVS 5a  
84Beginner's LuckHS 4a *6
85The Gargoyle SistersE5 6b *1
 The Watchblock 
87Wall of StrawsE5 6b ***13
88Three Piece ComboE4 6a *1
89Adjudicator WallE3 5c ***178
90Eyes Wide ShutE9 6c/7a ***1
91Nancy WhiskyE1 5b *68
92Watchblock DirectHVS 5b 9
 Reynards Arch 
94The Lime Arch6b+ **101
95Jonah's Boner7c **3
96Arch Rival7a *68
97Arch Nemesis7b+ **1
98Arch Enemies7c+ ***78
99Sworn Enemy8a ***11
100Things Ain't Like They Used to Be7a+ *33
101Can you believe it6b 14
102Bo Bridgesf7B **2
103Into the gloomV7 1
 Tissington Spires 
 Chelsea Buttress 
106Veteran's Chimney
S 4a * 
107Thunder Rib
HS 4b 3
108Pensioner's Groove
VS 4b 1
109Roaring Forties
HVS 5a 1
110Bird Box Route
HVS 5b  
111Slime Traverse
VS 4c  
 Campanile Pinnacle 
113CampanileS 4a *99
114London Bridge
E2 5b  
115WhackoE3 5c *7
116The Man with X-Ray EyesE2 5b *19
S 2
VS 5b 1
119So This is Summer
E4 6c  
 Sentinel Buttress 
121Topsy Turvy
122Sentinel Crack
S 2
 Keep Buttress 
124Finders Keepers
E3 6b  
125Keeper's Crack
S 4b  
HS 4c 1
 Back Wall 
128Desolation Row
HVS 5a  
129Victoria Falls
HVS 5a 1
HS 4b 10
131Model Worker
HVS 5a 1
132Rattus Norvegicus
HVS 4c  
133MeanderVD 1
134Rose BowlHVS 5b 8
135Don van VlietE1 5c 1
136Ten Craters of WisdomVS 5a ***294
137SimeonVS 4c *87
138Simeon DirectHVS 5a **45
139Archibald the GrimE2 5c *6
E2 5c  
141Sunburst and Snowblind
VS 4c  
142Woodlouse Wall
VS 4c  
143Flopsy Bunny goes to the Zoo
E1 5b 3
144Dovedale Chainsaw MassacreE2 5c  
145Bird StreetE2 5c  
 Silicon Wall 
147SiliconHS 4b **190
148Manna MachineVS 4c *56
149Under PressureHVS 5b 2
150A Secret StateE3 5c *15
HVS 5b  
152DeflectorE1 4c  
153Rumble RidgeS  
 John Peel Wall 
155MandarinHVS 4c  
156BrutusE1 5b **93
157There Will Be Blood8a *2
158CaesarE4 6a **33
159GeorgeE1 5b ***222
160Destot's GapE5 6c  
161Bye, GeorgeE3 5c * 
162John PeelHVS 5a ***165
163Black FlipE4 6a 4
164Wild BillE2 5c *9
165Yew Tree WallE1 5c **180
166Calamity JaneE1 5b 5
167Uncle SamHVS 5a  
168Geronimo.E3 6a  
169Orange PeelE3 6a *3
170Faulty Towers
VS 4c  
 South Gully Buttress 
172Zulu DawnE5 6b *1
173And the WeatherE1 5b 1
174Dr LivingstoneVS 4b 17
175The Mystery TourHS 4b 2
176Stanley WallVS 4c 1
177AmoebaHVS 5a  
178Crazy HorseE3 5c *2
 Dovedale Church 
180Wild CountryE5 6c * 
181HornerHS 4c 2
182Bob Can't CopeE3 5b 2
183Bob HopeE2 5b 1
184Cryptic CrackVD 1
185Crypt RouteS 4a *16
186No Turning BackE5 6b *1
187Sold Down the RiverE5 6b 2
189French Technique7a *1
190American StyleE4 6b *4
191Bolt it and Believe it7c * 
192Tales of the RiverbankE5 6a ***16
193Pogles' WoodE4 6a 1
194The RattlerHVS 5b *2
195AnacondaE1 5b **46
196Phil's RouteE2 5c ***28
197JunglelandE5 6b *** 
198AmazonaE6 6c *** 
199Snakes AliveVS 4c ***100
200Judge JeffriesHVS 5c *1
201Quiet LifeE3 6a **15
202Blue SisterE4 6a *3
 Dovedale Castle 
204Cat's Eye Corner
HVS 5b *1
205Castle Crack
VS 5a 1
 Unknow / New / Awaiting Moderation 
* Climbs listed in red are waiting to be checked by a crag moderator, and may not be accurate.

Moderator Updates to this page are checked by UKC volunteer Graeme Hammond