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Outdoor spots for kids / Children in Devon

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 SurferSi 23 Jun 2020

Hi All,

Looking for some good spots in Devon for kids 4' tall so not too reachy moves...ideally with good/easy access to build anchor as the nipper can't belay me leading.

Recently disappointed on visit to the cuttings in Portland, taking the nipper with a group of friends we built a bunch of anchors on super low grade sport routes but the lines required too much reach...

She's climbed a couple of good routes in Chudleigh but looking for further options.

Couldn't find much on the topic despite searching lots,

Cheers

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 Lizard Ollie 23 Jun 2020
In reply to SurferSi:

Basically anything on Dartmoor should have you covered. The more roadside crags tend to see a bit more traffic from walkerrs and other climbers, but somewhere like  Hound Tor or Sheeps Tor are popular with beginners and instructors for the same sort of reasons you mention. Surrounding those crags are less visited venues if you're worried about contact, Greator Rocks for example. Can't vouch much for the South coast but up on the northern culm the approaches tend to be a bit more involved. You could probably have quite a nice day playing around at somewhere like  Maer Cliff (aka Northcott Mouth) where there's a huge range from hard, loose trad to some classic friendly bouldering off the sand. If all else fails then at least you're on the beach!

Hope that helps a bit,

Ollie

Post edited at 12:07
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In reply to SurferSi:

Agree with Olie -  Hound Tor is a great venue for kids. Also, most of the Dartmoor tors give fine bouldering -  Bonehill Rocks (Bone Hill) is popular and would be a good place to start. Mind you,  Maer Cliff (aka Northcott Mouth) is of course in Cornwall!

Post edited at 12:58
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 alan moore 23 Jun 2020
In reply to SurferSi:

Depends where you are in Devon. Hound Tor is an obvious one but have had more fun at Valley of Rocks with little Ones. Even some summits to be bagged there.

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 Cusco 23 Jun 2020
In reply to SurferSi:

The main block on Hound Tor (on the left hand side of the avenue) is the most popular place to top rope kids and beginners. Top Hat around the back is also good fun.

Leigh Tor on the way to Poundsgate has some great top ropes for kids on face facing the trees (ie facing the approach path as you arrive). It's also a lovely picnic spot. But get there early as there's only room for about four cars and it's used by walkers.

The big slab at Bonehill is good for too roping kids and there's lots of scrambling around.

I took my 10 year old son to Irishmans Wall near Belstone after lockdown eased. That has some great little top ropes for kids and is in a nice location looking across the high moors (many happy Ten Tors memories). To avoid Belstone just after lockdown easing, we walked in from a car park off the 'ring road', crossing Culliver Steps which we enjoyed.

I also took my son to Sheepstor a few weeks ago but don't think I would again (although he wants to top rope Mushroom Wall again). The easy climbs are very polished and not particularly pleasant and he enjoyed Greator more. 

Greator was nice - Juggular, Cheese Greator and Greator Garbo were good top ropes for my son. But the ferns are a bit high now and the paths along the bottom of the crag require a bit of scrambling. That said, the walk and scramble over the top of the two parts of the tor are really good fun.

Arch Rock at Cheddar has a few easier routes but if you don't have a belayer a you'd have to ab to the lower off from the top. I know Cheddar's not Devon but I can get to Brean and Cheddar from Exeter as quickly if not more quickly than getting to Berry Head, parts of Dartmoor etc.

The easy routes on the left hand side of the Cuttings are some of the worst I have ever done. They all seem slopey and are desperate for the grades, perhaps due to their height.

Have fun!  

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 Lizard Ollie 23 Jun 2020
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Right you are, should have been more careful there! Blasphemy in these parts

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In reply to Lizard Ollie:

Yes, I live in Bude, often thought to be in Devon by those in West Cornwall who should know better!

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 Chris Ebbutt 23 Jun 2020
In reply to SurferSi:

Slippery Crack (VD)

Sunshine (6a)

Nexus (S 4a)

Monocle (S 4a)

Hi

These routes are all at venues I have taken my own children.

Chapel Woods is very pleasant with the kids, set in a park/ wood, west facing easy safe access, climbing is all slabby and not height dependant, trees/roots some way back so long slings or static useful to set up belays. This is the easiest and most family friendly of my suggestions.

Sunshine is first pitch only (60m rope) and possibly Blue Sky for a bit more of a challenge, south facing bowl, you would either need to clip stick or solo up to the first belay to set up the top rope though if no one can belay you. Base of this area is ok but a bit of a slope down to the beach, not for very young children.

Chudleigh North makes for a great family venue when dry/ hot as it is a wild garden at the bottom. Nexus is long but not to height dependant but you will need a 60m rope to top rope and long slings/ static for the top set up.

Daddyhole Upper, Monolith West Face is a friendly spot, west facing catching the evening sun, mature trees at the top to set up on. Routes are only short and a bit eliminate, children would need to be lowered off, gaining the top of the Monolith is easy but potentially exposed. Helmets a good idea as still some loose rock at the top.

Everything here is bone dry at the moment. All these venues have other route options but tried to pick out the best kid friendly routes. Hope that’s helpful.

Have fun

Chris

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 SurferSi 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Cusco:

Definitely going to check out Irishmans and Sheeps Tor

You're so right about the easy routes at the cuttings,  I lead a couple to set up TRs and so did my friends and we all hated them, badly protected and polished, much preferred the higher grades further along.

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 SurferSi 24 Jun 2020

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions,  really pleased with the level !

I've tried her on Hound Tor which is great spot for low grade boulders for sure, but even fairly short problems seem like highballs as she's so small and a bunch are tricky to find good places to build an anchor.

I only saw one spot LH side of Top Hat but was taken at the time by somebody direct belaying his kid from the top which would work.

Planning a short trip to Sheeps Tor and will also check Irish man's for sure as that's full of short routes from research so great to hear that works for top roping.

Now I've got a few more places to check much appreciated.

So tricky to find places that suit little ones that aren't too intimidating - she loves the outdoors and climbs well enough inside but always prefer to be out than in any day!

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In reply to SurferSi:

You may well find Sheepstor a bit tricky and polished and rather hard for the grades, particularly if it's at all hot and sweaty.

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 Chris Ebbutt 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Mark Kemball:

Hi

agree that Sheeps Tor can be a bit tricky, great family spot but kids struggled with the climbs, 

Leigh Tor

is the best of the Dartmoor venues for younger kids, the rock ( Dolerite?) is covered in incut holds so makes for very positive climbing and quite steep for the grades. Beautiful spot for a picnic too.

Chris

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 derryclimbs 24 Jun 2020
In reply to Chris Ebbutt:

I second this. Was surprised it took 10 replies for it to be mentioned!

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 Cusco 25 Jun 2020
In reply to derryclimbs:

Five

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 derryclimbs 25 Jun 2020
In reply to Cusco:

Ah yes! ha. glazed over that one! Sorry

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