Climbs 191
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.

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 15 March to 30 June

Reason: Nesting Birds

Peregrines are nesting at Tissington Spires - please avoid all routes on South Gully Buttress (Zulu Dawn to Amoeba inclusive) during the restriction period.

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Guidebooks

Peak Limestone

Selected guidebook covering the best trad and sport limestone crags in the Peak District.
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
2 Flying Blackberry E3 6a 2
3 Ribit E4 6b *  
4 Claw Left-Hand HVS 5b ** 11
5 The Claw HVS 5a ** 36
6 Swallow Tales E3 6a  
7 Bill Baley VS 4b * 7
8 Cenotaph Corner S  
9 The Beak HS 4b  
10 An Air of Detachment VS 4b  
11 The Filter VS 4c  
12 Filtration HVS 5b  
13 Baley Chimney VD  
  Raven's Tor
15 Jackdaw VS 4c  
16 Flying Trout E2 5c  
17 Short Wall VS 4c  
18 The Doddle HS  
19 Tennessee Waltz HVS 5b * 5
20 Southern Rib E1 5b ** 88
21 The Temptress E5 6a ** 10
22 Deltoid Shuffle E4 5c * 31
23 Left-hand Route E1 5b ** 97
24 Sentinel Crack
-
S 2
25 Raven E2 5c * 27
26 Brown's Blunder VS 4c * 29
27 Aquarius E2 5c ** 36
28 Central Wall E3 5c * 32
29 Central Wall Direct E4 6b *  
30 Judas E5 6b *  
31 The Doldrums E3 5c 3
32 Bus Pass Buttress E4 6a ** 1
33 Venery HVS 4c ** 65
34 Parrot Face HVS 5a * 14
35 Skewball VS 4c 5
36 Jugbit E2 5c 1
37 Tendonitis Sucks E5 6b 1
38 Girdle Traverse
-
HVS *** 5
39 Southern Gully
-
HVD 1
  Dove Holes
41 The Archers E5 6b 1
42 The Ball A2 * 21
43 Pumping Iron E5 6b *  
44 The Umpire E3 5c * 11
45 Restricted Practices E5 6b 2
46 The Wicked A2 * 12
47 The Bat A2 *** 111
48 The Bat (Variation) A1 * 2
49 Middle Stump A2 *** 34
50 Follow the Bear E5 6b 1
51 Police and Thieves E4 6a ** 13
52 Dynamic Aiders A2 * 3
53 Girdle Lip traverse A2 ** 5
  Ilam Rock
55 Original Route HS 4a 30
56 The Wong Edge E3 6a ** 13
57 The Groove E2 5c * 23
58 The Gladiator E4 6a *** 34
59 Steve's Route E6 6c **  
60 The Final Round XS 8a+/b ***  
61 Eye of the Tiger E7 6c *** 7
62 The White Edge E3 6a * 24
63 Easter Island E1 5b ** 326
64 Easter Island-White Edge Connection E2 5c 7
65 Ducie island HVS 4c 2
  Pickering Tors
67 Pickering Ridge VS 4b 6
68 What Crisis? HVS 5a 3
69 Crisis E5 6c 1
70 Uncontrollable Urge HVS 5a 1
71 Daylight Robbery E1 5b  
72 Monsieur Mange Tout E5 6b * 2
73 The River E4 6a  
74 Pickering's Overhang E1 5b * 21
75 The Flake E1 5c * 6
76 The Jaguar Smile E4 6a  
77 Chunky Punky HVS 5a 6
78 Original Route S 3c 3
  Thunderball
80 Final Witness E2 5b * 10
81 Thunderball E1 5b ** 39
82 Red Eye HVS 5b 3
83 Suspended Sentence E5 6b *  
84 Harold Wilson E2 5b  
85 Palsy Wall HVS 5a  
86 Beginner's Luck HS 4a * 6
87 The Gargoyle Sisters E5 6b * 1
  The Watchblock
89 Wall of Straws E5 6b *** 17
90 Three Piece Combo E4 6a * 1
91 Adjudicator Wall E3 5c *** 198
92 Eyes Wide Shut E7 6c *** 1
93 Nancy Whisky E1 5b * 70
94 Watchblock Direct HVS 5b 9
  Reynards Arch
96 The Lime Arch 6b+ ** 130
97 Arch Rival 7a * 81
98 Arch Nemesis 7b+ ** 1
99 Arch Enemies 7c+ *** 92
100 Sworn Enemy 8a *** 14
101 Things Ain't Like They Used to Be 7a+ * 40
102 Can you believe it 6b 21
  Reynard's Kitchen
104 Jonah's Boner 7c ** 3
105 Bo Bridges f7B ** 2
106 Into the gloom V7 1
107 The Kitchen f7B * 1
  Tissington Spires
  Chelsea Buttress
110 Veteran's Chimney
-
S 4a *  
111 Thunder Rib
-
HS 4b 3
112 Pensioner's Groove
-
VS 4b 1
113 Roaring Forties
-
HVS 5a 1
114 Bird Box Route
-
HVS 5b  
115 Slime Traverse
-
VS 4c  
  Campanile Pinnacle
117 Campanile S 4a * 100
118 London Bridge
-
E2 5b  
119 Whacko E3 5c * 7
120 The Man with X-Ray Eyes E2 5b * 19
121 Fetish
-
S 2
122 Fetlock
-
VS 5b 1
123 So This is Summer
-
E4 6c  
  Sentinel Buttress
125 Topsy Turvy
-
HVD 3
126 Sentinel Crack
-
S 2
  Keep Buttress
128 Finders Keepers
-
E3 6b  
129 Keeper's Crack
-
S 4b  
130 Boomerang
-
HS 4c 1
  Back Wall
132 Desolation Row
-
HVS 5a  
133 Victoria Falls
-
HVS 5a 1
134 Hortus
-
HS 4b 10
135 Model Worker
-
HVS 5a 1
136 Rattus Norvegicus
-
HVS 4c  
137 Meander VD 1
138 Rose Bowl HVS 5b 8
139 Don van Vliet E1 5c 1
140 Ten Craters of Wisdom VS 5a *** 330
141 Simeon VS 4c * 93
142 Simeon Direct HVS 5a ** 51
143 Archibald the Grim E2 5c * 7
144 Massambula
-
E2 5c  
145 Sunburst and Snowblind
-
VS 4c  
146 Woodlouse Wall
-
VS 4c  
147 Flopsy Bunny goes to the Zoo
-
E1 5b 3
148 Dovedale Chainsaw Massacre E2 5c  
149 Bird Street E2 5c  
  Silicon Wall
151 Silicon HS 4b ** 210
152 Manna Machine VS 4c * 60
153 Under Pressure HVS 5b 2
154 A Secret State E3 5c * 15
155 Tormentor
-
HVS 5b  
156 Deflector E1 4c  
157 Rumble Ridge S  
  John Peel Wall
159 Mandarin HVS 4c  
160 Brutus E1 5b ** 97
161 There Will Be Blood 8a * 1
162 Caesar E4 6a ** 34
163 George E1 5b *** 240
164 Destot's Gap E5 6c  
165 Bye, George E3 5c *  
166 John Peel HVS 5a *** 200
167 Black Flip E4 6a 5
168 Wild Bill E2 5c * 9
169 Yew Tree Wall E1 5c ** 190
170 Calamity Jane E1 5b 5
171 Uncle Sam HVS 5a  
172 Geronimo. E3 6a  
173 Orange Peel E3 6a * 3
174 Faulty Towers
-
VS 4c  
  South Gully Buttress
176 Zulu Dawn E5 6b * 1
177 And the Weather E1 5b 1
178 Dr Livingstone VS 4b 20
179 The Mystery Tour HS 4b 2
180 Stanley Wall VS 4c 1
181 Amoeba HVS 5a  
182 Crazy Horse E3 5c * 2
  Dovedale Church
184 Wild Country E5 6c *  
185 Horner HS 4c 2
186 Bob Can't Cope E3 5b 2
187 Bob Hope E2 5b 1
188 Cryptic Crack VD 1
189 Crypt Route S 4a * 19
190 No Turning Back E5 6b * 1
191 Sold Down the River E5 6b 2
192 Unknown ?  
193 French Technique 7a * 1
194 American Style E4 6b * 4
195 Bolt it and Believe it 7c *  
196 Tales of the Riverbank E5 6a *** 20
197 Pogles' Wood E4 6a 1
198 The Rattler HVS 5b * 2
199 Anaconda E1 5b ** 52
200 Phil's Route E2 5c *** 26
201 Jungleland E5 6b ***  
202 Amazona E6 6c ***  
203 Snakes Alive VS 4c *** 116
204 Judge Jeffries HVS 5c * 1
205 Quiet Life E3 6a ** 14
206 Blue Sister E4 6a * 3
  Dovedale Castle
208 Cat's Eye Corner
-
HVS 5b * 1
209 Castle Crack
-
VS 5a 1
  The Boardwalk Cave
211 Survival of the Fattest f8A 1
212 Roofs Manuva f8A *** 1
  Unknow / New / Awaiting Moderation
* Climbs listed in red are waiting to be checked by a crag moderator, and may not be accurate.

Moderator Updates to this page are checked by UKC volunteer Graeme Hammond