Altitude 74m a.s.l
Leer of beethoven © James O'Neil
The Cuttings is an excellent and popular inland crag that holds some of Portland's most well-travelled lines. Its easy access, broad spread of grades and sheltered position ensure that there are few days in the year where there won't be someone climbing here. It is an old railway cutting that has left several walls rising directly from a flat quarried base. The walls yield climbing that is mostly sustained and technical in nature, on clean vertical rock. Many of the climbs need lots of finger strength and tenacity, although the profusion of cracks, corners and grooves that bisect the blanker walls give pitches requiring a full range of techniques.
There is also a very well-used beginners' wall set up for groups and individuals to cut their teeth on, which has an array of short, bolted easier routes. Over the last few years, a number of new sections of cliff have been opened up - The Bower, Sunlovers Slab and the outlying Nicodemus Knob have all become popular with their cache of routes between grades 3 and 6. In front of The Cuttings is a massive area of boulders, scree and dense vegetation that runs down to the sea - this is the The Cuttings Boulderfield which is fully covered in the Rockfax book Dorset Bouldering.
Drive through Easton towards Southwell to the Church Ope car park. Walk back up the road for 50m, and at the tiny Portland Museum, turn right onto Church Ope Road. Follow the road under an arch to a viewpoint - a flat area with some benches directly under Rufus Castle. From here, take the coast path (not the path down steps to Church Ope Cove) to a wide track which leads to The Cuttings in a couple of minutes. The New Cuttings is the first cliff reached, quickly followed by The Cuttings cliff itself. The Bower is well hidden only metres from The Cuttings. The Sunlovers Slab is down by the sea.
An alternative and popular approach is to use the often muddy track to the right of Mermaid House - this leads directly to the coast path.