Climbs 190
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.

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Peak Limestone

Selected guidebook covering the best trad and sport limestone crags in the Peak District.
More info
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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 **11
5The ClawHVS 5a **34
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 **85
21The TemptressE5 6a **10
22Deltoid ShuffleE4 5c *31
23Left-hand RouteE1 5b **93
24Sentinel Crack
S 2
25RavenE2 5c *27
26Brown's BlunderVS 4c *28
27AquariusE2 5c **34
28Central WallE3 5c *33
29Central Wall DirectE4 6b * 
30JudasE5 6b * 
31The DoldrumsE3 5c 3
32VeneryHVS 4c **62
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 1
41The BallA2 *21
42Pumping IronE5 6b * 
43The UmpireE3 5c *11
44Restricted PracticesE5 6b 2
45The WickedA2 *20
46The BatA2 ***108
47The Bat (Variation)A1 *2
48Middle StumpA2 ***32
49Follow the BearE5 6b 1
50Police and ThievesE4 6a **13
51Dynamic AidersA2 *3
52Girdle Lip traverseA2 **7
 Ilam Rock 
54Original RouteHS 4a 32
55The Wong EdgeE3 6a **12
56The GrooveE2 5c *21
57The GladiatorE4 6a ***32
58Steve's RouteE6 6c ** 
59The Final RoundXS 8a+/b *** 
60Eye of the TigerE7 6c ***21
61The White EdgeE3 6a *24
62Easter IslandE1 5b **309
63Easter Island-White Edge ConnectionE2 5c 7
64Ducie island HVS 4c 2
 Pickering Tors 
66Pickering RidgeVS 4b 6
67What Crisis?HVS 5a 3
68CrisisE5 6c 1
69Uncontrollable UrgeHVS 5a 1
70Daylight RobberyE1 5b  
71Monsieur Mange ToutE5 6b *2
72The RiverE4 6a  
73Pickering's OverhangE1 5b *22
74The FlakeE1 5c *6
75The Jaguar SmileE4 6a  
76Chunky PunkyHVS 5a 6
77Original RouteS 3c 3
79Final WitnessE2 5b *10
80ThunderballE1 5b **39
81Red EyeHVS 5b 3
82Suspended SentenceE5 6b * 
83Harold WilsonE2 5b  
84Palsy WallHVS 5a  
85Beginner's LuckHS 4a *6
86The Gargoyle SistersE5 6b *1
 The Watchblock 
88Wall of StrawsE5 6b ***15
89Three Piece ComboE4 6a *1
90Adjudicator WallE3 5c ***185
91Eyes Wide ShutE7 6c ***1
92Nancy WhiskyE1 5b *72
93Watchblock DirectHVS 5b 9
 Reynards Arch 
95The Lime Arch6b+ **114
96Arch Rival7a *70
97Arch Nemesis7b+ **1
98Arch Enemies7c+ ***84
99Sworn Enemy8a ***11
100Things Ain't Like They Used to Be7a+ *34
101Can you believe it6b 17
 Reynard's Kitchen 
103Jonah's Boner7c **3
104Bo Bridgesf7B **2
105Into the gloomV7 1
106The Kitchenf7B *1
 Tissington Spires 
 Chelsea Buttress 
109Veteran's Chimney
S 4a * 
110Thunder Rib
HS 4b 3
111Pensioner's Groove
VS 4b 1
112Roaring Forties
HVS 5a 1
113Bird Box Route
HVS 5b  
114Slime Traverse
VS 4c  
 Campanile Pinnacle 
116CampanileS 4a *102
117London Bridge
E2 5b  
118WhackoE3 5c *7
119The Man with X-Ray EyesE2 5b *19
S 2
VS 5b 1
122So This is Summer
E4 6c  
 Sentinel Buttress 
124Topsy Turvy
125Sentinel Crack
S 2
 Keep Buttress 
127Finders Keepers
E3 6b  
128Keeper's Crack
S 4b  
HS 4c 1
 Back Wall 
131Desolation Row
HVS 5a  
132Victoria Falls
HVS 5a 1
HS 4b 10
134Model Worker
HVS 5a 1
135Rattus Norvegicus
HVS 4c  
136MeanderVD 1
137Rose BowlHVS 5b 8
138Don van VlietE1 5c 1
139Ten Craters of WisdomVS 5a ***307
140SimeonVS 4c *89
141Simeon DirectHVS 5a **45
142Archibald the GrimE2 5c *7
E2 5c  
144Sunburst and Snowblind
VS 4c  
145Woodlouse Wall
VS 4c  
146Flopsy Bunny goes to the Zoo
E1 5b 3
147Dovedale Chainsaw MassacreE2 5c  
148Bird StreetE2 5c  
 Silicon Wall 
150SiliconHS 4b **203
151Manna MachineVS 4c *57
152Under PressureHVS 5b 2
153A Secret StateE3 5c *15
HVS 5b  
155DeflectorE1 4c  
156Rumble RidgeS  
 John Peel Wall 
158MandarinHVS 4c  
159BrutusE1 5b **95
160There Will Be Blood8a *2
161CaesarE4 6a **34
162GeorgeE1 5b ***231
163Destot's GapE5 6c  
164Bye, GeorgeE3 5c * 
165John PeelHVS 5a ***169
166Black FlipE4 6a 4
167Wild BillE2 5c *9
168Yew Tree WallE1 5c **185
169Calamity JaneE1 5b 5
170Uncle SamHVS 5a  
171Geronimo.E3 6a  
172Orange PeelE3 6a *3
173Faulty Towers
VS 4c  
 South Gully Buttress 
175Zulu DawnE5 6b *1
176And the WeatherE1 5b 1
177Dr LivingstoneVS 4b 17
178The Mystery TourHS 4b 2
179Stanley WallVS 4c 1
180AmoebaHVS 5a  
181Crazy HorseE3 5c *2
 Dovedale Church 
183Wild CountryE5 6c * 
184HornerHS 4c 2
185Bob Can't CopeE3 5b 2
186Bob HopeE2 5b 1
187Cryptic CrackVD 1
188Crypt RouteS 4a *18
189No Turning BackE5 6b *1
190Sold Down the RiverE5 6b 2
192French Technique7a *1
193American StyleE4 6b *4
194Bolt it and Believe it7c * 
195Tales of the RiverbankE5 6a ***22
196Pogles' WoodE4 6a 1
197The RattlerHVS 5b *2
198AnacondaE1 5b **49
199Phil's RouteE2 5c ***28
200JunglelandE5 6b *** 
201AmazonaE6 6c *** 
202Snakes AliveVS 4c ***110
203Judge JeffriesHVS 5c *1
204Quiet LifeE3 6a **15
205Blue SisterE4 6a *3
 Dovedale Castle 
207Cat's Eye Corner
HVS 5b *1
208Castle Crack
VS 5a 1
 The Boardwalk Cave 
210Survival of the Fattestf8A 1
211Roofs Manuvaf8A ***1
 Unknow / New / Awaiting Moderation 
* Climbs listed in red are waiting to be checked by a crag moderator, and may not be accurate.

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