Climbs 114
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude Tidal
Faces S

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Jumping the gun © Phil Belcher

Crag features

The Hedbury and Smokey Hole areas encompass four very different crags to the west of Dancing Ledge. The main interest for most climbers will be Hedbury Quarry, which is a similar but more compact version of the main quarry at Dancing Ledge. The rock here is steep and solid and dotted with flowstone holds. It is a good place for an afternoon's sport climbing in winter, getting lots of sun and being set back away from the sea. Just around the corner from the quarry is the atmospheric Hedbury Big Cove with its leaning walls, massive overhangs, slightly unstable rock and hard trad routes. Smokey Hole, on the other hand, is more solid and less steep than Hedbury Big Cove but has a similar set of high quality, high grade trad routes in a sensational setting. The tucked away Topmast Quarry has three steep and sheltered sport routes.

Approach notes

Hedbury is approached from Langton Matravers. From just outside Swanage town, turn off the A351 towards Langton Matravers. Once in the village, go past the post office and turn left into Durnford Drove. The free car park is 300m down the road (on a track for the last 150m) just beyond Langton House. From the parking, walk south on a good path/track to Spyway Barn. Continue through two fields until the cliff-top path is reached. Head down the big hill (via stone steps) to the coast path, which lies above Dancing Ledge.

For Hedbury Quarry and Big Cove (Left) - Once at the coast path, above Dancing Ledge, turn right (looking out) and follow it for 500m over a gentle hill. At a stile, drop down a ridge path on the left into a huge open quarry with a large cannon in its base. The quarry routes are on the wall on the left (looking out). To get to Hedbury Big Cove, drop down some rock steps to a sea-level ledge that leads left (looking out) into a cave.

For Big Cove (Right) and Smokey Hole - The cliff-top quarry is situated 50m further on from the open-cast Topmast Quarry, which in turn is 300m further on from Dancing Ledge. The descent path is below some planks on the coast path that cross a dry stream bed. The four routes are gained by an abseil (no stake currently in place but there are plans to place one) from a point 10m left (looking out) of the descent to the hidden quarry. The abseil leads down Diving for Pearls.

Access Advice

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 1 March to 31 July

Reason: Nesting Birds

The restiction applies to the whole of Hedbury Big Cove crag during nesting season.

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 Android and iOS devices.



The latest edition of the Dorset Rockfax features the now widely acclaimed full-page colour topos, and includes all the new lines in the areas previously covered, as well as many entirely new sectors. The crags are illustrated using bigger topos and there is a complete new set of action photos. This new Rockfax guide will concentrate on Portland, Swanage and Lulworth, covering all the sport routes in these areas, and also the bulk of the quality trad climbing at Swanage and Lulworth. Coverage of bouldering and deep water soloing, along with all the routes in Devon have migrated from this book.
More info

Deep Water

Mike Robertson's award winning Deep Water guide, covering DWS on the English South Coast, Pembroke, Scotland and throughout the world.
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More Guidebooks:
Swanage (2015)
Swanage and Portland (1995)

Out of print:
not abit little sport crag.. jumping the gun is the gem.. don's long gone is also worth doing.. a few easer routes towards the seaward end of the cliff have been added.. including britains one and only F1!
rustaldo - 25/Mar/11
Only worth visiting for the following reasons: -Getting something to do their first outdoor lead and get familiar with threading the anchor bolts and cleaning a route. -If you have climbed every other sport route in Swanage area an extremely limiting number of climbs of any interest. Something the crag list does not say is that at least 6 routes are in a water fall for all but a few days per year!
alx - 22/Mar/09
Does anyone have any information about the 4 or 5 easier new routes that have appeared toward the seaward side of the quarry? I'm not sure how long they've been there as I hadn't been down to headbury for a while.
ColinK - 04/Sep/04
Sea cliffs to the west offer some good trad climbs- blood gully, bilbo, billy and east milton wall - good for new lead climbers who cant abide the crush of subluminal!
Martin torbett - 06/Aug/03
Its ok, probably marginally more pleasant than Dancing Ledge but suffers from the same problem as all the Swanage sport quarries, too much like the Peak quarries, polished and not comparable to Portland. Swanage's best climbing is its trad, if you want sport go to Portland.
Al Evans - 06/Oct/02
Its ok, probably marginally more pleasant than Dancing Ledge but suffers from the same problem as all the Swanage sport quarries, too much like the Peak quarries, polished and not comparable to Portland. Swanage's best climbing is its trad, if you want sport go to Portland.
Al Evans - 06/Oct/02
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Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
  The Black Walls
2 Black Wall Avoidance VS 4c  
3 Knee and a Tall Man
E2 5b  
4 Waiting for the Death Blow
E2 5b * 2
5 Dark Millenium
E4 6a  
  Mike's Corner
7 What a Mitty 6a 16
8 Flying Pigs 6c * 7
9 Cheese Balls! 5c 24
10 Predator A1  
11 The Pod A1 * 1
12 Dogging Boy A1  
13 Alien Abduction
14 Spaghetti Western A1 9
15 Benny's Apprentice A1 5
  Mike's Corner - The Sea Cliff
17 Lasteen VS 4c  
18 Solifluction VS 4b  
19 Petrification
HVS 5a  
20 Judy
S 4a ** 39
21 Whotnot
S 25
22 Rear Entry D 30
23 Hoboken
VS 5a  
24 A Quick Yank
HVS 5b  
25 Shaggy Looe
E1 5c  
26 Rosemary VS 4c 4
27 The Great Latch
E1 5c  
28 Pete's Corner HS 4a 63
29 Blood Gully HS 4b * 44
30 Blood Ties VS 4c 14
31 Degradation
VS 4c 8
32 Under Caroline S 4a 9
33 Caroline S 4a 33
34 Gwen VS 4c 7
35 Rawhide
S 4a 2
36 Pale Rider
VS 4c 2
37 Tightrope
HS 4b 12
38 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
S 4a 13
39 Any Which Way but Loose VS 4c  
40 Dynamic Uno HVS  
Climb name Grade
  The Cannon Quarry
42 Rising Bubbles E1 5b ** 2
43 Finger Lickin' Good E2 5c ** 2
44 Tethered by Gravity 4c * 1245
45 Goddam Sexual Tyrannosaurus 5c 887
46 Ammonitemare 6a+ * 551
47 Of Mice and Men 6b * 303
48 Bad Day 6c+ * 86
49 One More Cheese Sarnie 6c 81
50 Moves for the Masses 6a+ ** 662
51 Hangs Like a Dead Man 6c ** 210
52 Under Starters Orders/Into the Realm of Radical Cool 7a+ * 26
53 Jumping the Gun 6b ** 251
54 Mouth Breather 7c * 7
55 Sureshot 6c ** 76
56 Sexy Beast 7a * 54
57 Alice In Pumpland 7a * 31
58 Cinderella's Big Score 7c ** 22
59 It Can't be Denied 7b ** 61
60 It can't be denied - direct 7b+  
61 Dry Time Climb 4c 216
62 Dry Time Climb Direct 6a 29
63 Bop Ceroc 6b+ * 128
64 Glue Crux Clan 6c * 55
65 Puff Adder 6a 5
66 Produced by Fred Quimby 6b+ * 131
67 Strange Devices 4a 49
68 Don's Long Gone 6b+ * 130
69 Mindless Optimism 6b+ * 139
70 New Age, New Style 5c * 925
71 Missed It VS 4b * 4
72 Very Ordinary Route 1 * 862
73 Another Contribution 2a * 863
74 Moral Flexibility 5a * 1067
75 Sea View 3a * 1120
  The Sea Walls
77 Apathy
78 Gary
S 4a  
79 SPP
HS 4b  
80 Finger Cwack
VS 4c  
81 Juvenile Product of the Working Class
E2 5b  
Climb name Grade
82 Rebel Without a Clue
E2 5b 1
83 East Milton Wall
VS 5a 17
84 Bilbo
HS 4b 32
85 Billy S 4a 35
  The Big Cove
87 The Balrog
VS 5a 7
88 Head in the Clouds
E4 6a  
89 Under the Sky, Above the Sea E5 6b *  
90 Sheffield Uber Alles E6 6b **  
91 The Jesus Lizard E6 6b **  
92 Once in the Jungle E6 6b **  
93 Nowhere to Run E6 6b *** 1
94 The Fabulous Professor Panic E5 6a ** 9
95 Figurehead E2 5b * 16
96 Dark Water Solo E2 5c  
97 Endemic E1 5b  
98 Demi Sec
E1 5b  
99 Epidemic
HS 4b 2
100 Squitters
E3 6a  
101 Spanish Harlem
E1 5b  
102 Bivvy Cave Crack V5 *  
  Smokey Hole
104 Slow Dive E6 6b *  
105 Diving for Pearls E6 6b **  
106 Vapour Trail E7 6b ***  
107 Rocket USA E6 6b ** 1
108 Sea of Tranquility
109 Aquamarine 5a S2 ** 6
110 Marvellous Mags 6a+ S1 ** 10
111 Zircon 6a+ S1 ** 11
112 Gemzone 6b+ S0 8
113 Jargoniser 6a+ S1 * 10
114 Archive
115 Jurassic
VS 5a  
116 Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
HVS 5b  
117 Bombard the Blaggards
HVS 4c  
  Topmast Quarry
119 Bar Code 7b * 1
120 Bar King Mad 7a+ * 2
121 Isobar 7a 6
122 Bar None 6c 3

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