Climbs 183
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.
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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 2
3RibitE4 6b * 
4Claw Left-HandHVS 5b **10
5The ClawHVS 5a **29
6Swallow TalesE3 6a  
7Bill BaleyVS 4b *5
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 **72
21The TemptressE5 6a **7
22Deltoid ShuffleE4 5c *24
23Left-hand RouteE1 5b **79
24Sentinel Crack
S 2
25RavenE2 5c *26
26Brown's BlunderVS 4c *24
27AquariusE2 5c **30
28Central WallE3 5c *27
29Central Wall DirectE4 6b * 
30JudasE5 6b * 
31The DoldrumsE3 5c 3
32VeneryHVS 4c **44
33Parrot FaceHVS 5a *11
34SkewballVS 4c 3
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 *8
46The BatA2 ***88
47Middle StumpA2 ***27
48Follow the BearE5 6b  
49Police and ThievesE4 6a **11
50Dynamic AidersA2 *3
51Girdle Lip traverseA2 **2
 Ilam Rock 
53Original RouteHS 4a 28
54The Wong EdgeE3 6a **12
55The GrooveE2 5c *18
56The GladiatorE4 6a ***20
57Steve's RouteE6 6c ** 
58Eye of the TigerE7 6c ***5
59The White EdgeE3 6a *20
60Easter IslandE1 5b **260
61Easter Island-White Edge Connection
E2 5c 5
62Ducie island HVS 4c 1
 Pickering Tors 
64Pickering RidgeVS 4b 5
65What Crisis?HVS 5a 3
66CrisisE5 6c 1
67Uncontrollable UrgeHVS 5a 1
68Daylight RobberyE1 5b  
69Monsieur Mange ToutE5 6b *2
70The RiverE4 6a  
71The FlakeE1 5c *5
72Pickering's OverhangE1 5b *16
73Chunky PunkyHVS 5a 6
74Original RouteS 3c 3
76Final WitnessE2 5b *10
77ThunderballE1 5b **34
78Red EyeHVS 5b 3
79Suspended SentenceE5 6b * 
80Harold WilsonE2 5b  
81Palsy WallHVS 5a  
82Beginner's LuckHS 4a *6
83The Gargoyle SistersE5 6b *1
 The Watchblock 
85Wall of StrawsE5 6b ***13
86Three Piece ComboE4 6a *1
87Adjudicator WallE3 5c ***164
88Nancy WhiskyE1 5b *64
89Watchblock DirectHVS 5b 9
 Reynards Arch 
91The Lime Arch6b+ **85
92Jonah's Boner7c **3
93Arch Rival7a *54
94Arch Nemesis7b+ **1
95Arch Enemies7c+ ***35
96Sworn Enemy8a ***5
97Things Ain't Like They Used to Be7a+ *21
98Can you believe it6b 7
99Bo Bridgesf7B **1
 Tissington Spires 
 Chelsea Buttress 
102Veteran's Chimney
S 4a * 
103Thunder Rib
HS 4b 3
104Pensioner's Groove
VS 4b 1
105Roaring Forties
HVS 5a 1
106Bird Box Route
HVS 5b  
107Slime Traverse
VS 4c  
 Campanile Pinnacle 
109CampanileS 4a *84
110London Bridge
E2 5b  
111WhackoE3 5c *7
112The Man with X-Ray EyesE2 5b *17
S 2
VS 5b 1
115So This is Summer
E4 6c  
 Sentinel Buttress 
117Topsy Turvy
118Sentinel Crack
S 2
 Keep Buttress 
120Finders Keepers
E3 6b  
121Keeper's Crack
S 4b  
HS 4c 1
 Back Wall 
124Desolation Row
HVS 5a  
125Victoria Falls
HVS 5a 1
HS 4b 8
127Model Worker
HVS 5a 1
128Rattus Norvegicus
HVS 4c  
129MeanderVD 1
130Rose BowlHVS 5b 8
131Don van VlietE1 5c 1
132Ten Craters of WisdomVS 5a ***247
133SimeonVS 4c *77
134Simeon DirectHVS 5a **42
135Archibald the GrimE2 5c *6
E2 5c  
137Sunburst and Snowblind
VS 4c  
138Woodlouse Wall
VS 4c  
139Flopsy Bunny goes to the Zoo
E1 5b 3
140Dovedale Chainsaw MassacreE2 5c  
141Bird StreetE2 5c  
 Silicon Wall 
143SiliconHS 4b **167
144Manna MachineVS 4c *52
145Under PressureHVS 5b 1
146A Secret StateE3 5c *15
HVS 5b  
148DeflectorE1 4c  
149Rumble RidgeS  
 John Peel Wall 
151MandarinHVS 4c  
152BrutusE1 5b **87
153There Will Be Blood8a *1
154CaesarE4 6a **29
155GeorgeE1 5b ***205
156Destot's GapE5 6c  
157Bye, GeorgeE3 5c * 
158John PeelHVS 5a ***180
159Black FlipE4 6a 4
160Wild BillE2 5c *8
161Yew Tree WallE1 5c **175
162Calamity JaneE1 5b 5
163Uncle SamHVS 5a  
164Geronimo.E3 6a  
165Orange PeelE3 6a *3
166Faulty Towers
VS 4c  
 South Gully Buttress 
168Zulu DawnE5 6b *1
169And the WeatherE1 5b 1
170Dr LivingstoneVS 4b 17
171The Mystery TourHS 4b 2
172Stanley WallVS 4c 1
173AmoebaHVS 5a  
174Crazy HorseE3 5c *2
 Dovedale Church 
176Wild CountryE5 6c * 
177HornerHS 4c 2
178Bob Can't CopeE3 5b 2
179Bob HopeE2 5b 1
180Cryptic CrackVD 1
181Crypt RouteS 4a *13
182No Turning BackE5 6b *1
183Sold Down the RiverE5 6b 2
185French Technique7a *1
186American StyleE4 6b *4
187Bolt it and Believe it7c * 
188Tales of the RiverbankE5 6a ***15
189Pogles' WoodE4 6a 1
190The RattlerHVS 5b *2
191AnacondaE1 5b **41
192Phil's RouteE2 5c ***24
193JunglelandE5 6b *** 
194AmazonaE6 6c *** 
195Snakes AliveVS 4c ***78
196Judge JeffriesHVS 5c *1
197Quiet LifeE3 6a **12
198Blue SisterE4 6a *3
 Dovedale Castle 
200Cat's Eye Corner
HVS 5b *1
201Castle Crack
VS 5a 1
 Unknow / New / Awaiting Moderation 
203The 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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