Climbs 202
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 180m a.s.l
Faces W

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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.

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:
Peak Limestone - South (2018)

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!
Rebecca Ting - UKC and Rockfax - 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 ** 16
5 The Claw HVS 5a ** 48
6 Swallow Tales E3 6a  
7 Bill Baley VS 4b * 10
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 Ohm Only
-
6b 4
20 Ohm from Ohm
-
6a 5
21 Tennessee Waltz HVS 5b * 4
22 Southern Rib E1 5b ** 98
23 The Temptress E5 6a ** 13
24 Deltoid Shuffle E4 5c * 39
25 Left-hand Route E1 5b ** 114
26 Sentinel Crack
-
S 2
27 Raven E2 5c * 31
28 Brown's Blunder VS 4c * 31
29 Aquarius E2 5c ** 44
30 Central Wall E3 5c * 35
31 Central Wall Direct E4 6b * 1
32 Judas E5 6b * 1
33 The Doldrums E3 5c 4
34 Bus Pass Buttress E4 6a ** 1
35 Venery HVS 4c ** 69
36 Parrot Face HVS 5a * 19
37 Paperback Road
-
6c+ 3
38 Pslam 51
-
1 4
39 Skewball VS 4c 7
40 Loretta
-
6b 2
41 Dancing Days
-
6b 3
42 Pistol Blues 6c 2
43 Jugbit E2 5c 1
44 Jugbit Direct 6b ** 2
45 Tendonitis Sucks E5 6b * 1
46 Pistol Whipped (Tendonitis Sucks) 7a * 4
47 Hammerhead Blues
-
1 2
48 Girdle Traverse
-
HVS *** 5
49 Southern Gully
-
HVD 1
  Dove Holes
51 The Archers E5 6b 1
52 The Ball A2 * 16
53 Pumping Iron E5 6b *  
54 Restricted Practices E5 6b 2
55 The Wicked A2 * 13
56 The Bat A2 *** 104
57 The Bat (Variation) A1 * 2
58 Middle Stump A2 *** 32
59 Follow the Bear E5 6b 1
60 Police and Thieves E4 6a ** 15
61 The Umpire E3 5c * 18
62 Dynamic Aiders A2 * 3
63 Girdle Lip traverse A2 ** 5
  Ilam Rock
65 Original Route HS 4a 35
66 The Wong Edge E3 6a ** 13
67 The Groove E2 5c * 25
68 The Gladiator E4 6a *** 31
69 Steve's Route E6 6c **  
70 The Final Round XS 8a+/b ***  
71 Eye of the Tiger E7 6c *** 9
72 The White Edge E3 6a * 26
73 Easter Island E1 5b ** 337
74 Easter Island-White Edge Connection E2 5c 16
75 Ducie island HVS 4c 2
Climb name Grade
  Pickering Tors
77 Pickering Ridge VS 4b 6
78 What Crisis? HVS 5a 3
79 Crisis E5 6c 1
80 Uncontrollable Urge HVS 5a 1
81 Daylight Robbery E1 5b  
82 Monsieur Mange Tout E5 6b * 2
83 The River E4 6a  
84 Pickering's Overhang E1 5b * 30
85 The Flake E1 5c * 6
86 The Jaguar Smile E4 6a  
87 Chunky Punky HVS 5a 7
88 Original Route S 3c 3
  Thunderball
90 Final Witness E2 5b * 12
91 Thunderball E1 5b ** 51
92 Red Eye HVS 5b 3
93 Suspended Sentence E5 6b *  
94 Harold Wilson E2 5b  
95 Palsy Wall HVS 5a  
96 The Gargoyle Sisters E5 6b * 1
97 Beginner's Luck HS 4a * 6
98 The Jug VS 5a 1
  The Watchblock
100 Wall of Straws E5 6b *** 19
101 Three Piece Combo E4 6a * 1
102 Adjudicator Wall E3 5c *** 200
103 Eyes Wide Shut E7 6c *** 1
104 Nancy Whisky E1 5b * 86
105 Watchblock Direct HVS 5b 11
  Reynards Arch
107 The Lime Arch 6b+ ** 170
108 Arch Rival 7a * 94
109 Arch Nemesis 7b+ ** 6
110 Arch Enemies 7c+ *** 66
111 Sworn Enemy 8a *** 9
112 Things Ain't Like They Used to Be 7a+ * 40
113 Can You Believe It 6b 33
  Reynard's Kitchen
115 Jonah's Boner 7c ** 5
116 Bo Bridges f7B ** 2
117 Into the gloom V7 1
118 The Kitchen f7B * 1
  Tissington Spires
  Chelsea Buttress
121 Veteran's Chimney
-
S 4a *  
122 Thunder Rib
-
HS 4b 3
123 Pensioner's Groove
-
VS 4b 1
124 Roaring Forties
-
HVS 5a 1
125 Bird Box Route
-
HVS 5b  
126 Slime Traverse
-
VS 4c  
  Campanile Pinnacle
128 Campanile S 4a * 120
129 London Bridge
-
E2 5b  
130 Whacko E3 5c * 9
131 The Man with X-Ray Eyes E2 5b * 22
132 Fetish
-
S 2
133 Fetlock
-
VS 5b 1
134 So This is Summer
-
E4 6c  
  Sentinel Buttress
136 Topsy Turvy
-
HVD 3
137 Sentinel Crack
-
S 2
  Keep Buttress
139 Finders Keepers
-
E3 6b  
140 Keeper's Crack
-
S 4b  
141 Boomerang
-
HS 4c 1
  Back Wall
143 Desolation Row
-
HVS 5a  
144 Victoria Falls
-
HVS 5a 1
145 Hortus
-
HS 4b 10
146 Model Worker
-
HVS 5a 1
147 Rattus Norvegicus
-
HVS 4c  
148 Meander VD 1
149 Rose Bowl HVS 5b 10
150 Don van Vliet E1 5c 1
Climb name Grade
151 Ten Craters of Wisdom VS 5a *** 364
152 Simeon VS 4c * 96
153 Simeon Direct HVS 5a ** 57
154 Archibald the Grim E2 5c * 8
155 Massambula
-
E2 5c  
156 Sunburst and Snowblind
-
VS 4c  
157 Woodlouse Wall
-
VS 4c  
158 Flopsy Bunny goes to the Zoo
-
E1 5b 3
159 Dovedale Chainsaw Massacre E2 5c  
160 Bird Street E2 5c  
  Silicon Wall
162 Silicon HS 4b ** 244
163 Manna Machine VS 4c * 66
164 Under Pressure HVS 5b 2
165 A Secret State E3 5c * 16
166 Tormentor
-
HVS 5b  
167 Deflector E1 4c  
168 Rumble Ridge S  
  John Peel Wall
170 Mandarin HVS 4c 1
171 Brutus E1 5b ** 110
172 There Will Be Blood 8a * 1
173 Caesar E4 6a ** 37
174 George E1 5b *** 255
175 Destot's Gap E5 6c  
176 Bye, George E3 5c * 1
177 John Peel HVS 5a *** 213
178 Black Flip E4 6a 5
179 Wild Bill E2 5c * 11
180 Crazy Horse E3 5c * 2
181 Yew Tree Wall E1 5c ** 208
182 Geronimo E3 6a  
183 Calamity Jane E1 5b 5
184 Uncle Sam HVS 5a  
185 Orange Peel E3 6a * 3
186 Faulty Towers
-
VS 4c  
  South Gully Buttress
188 Zulu Dawn E5 6b * 2
189 And the Weather E1 5b 1
190 Dr Livingstone VS 4b 22
191 The Mystery Tour HS 4b 2
192 Stanley Wall VS 4c 3
193 Amoeba HVS 5a  
  Dovedale Church
195 Wild Country E5 6c *  
196 Horner HS 4c 2
197 Bob Can't Cope E3 5b 2
198 Bob Hope E2 5b 2
199 Cryptic Crack VD 1
200 Crypt Route S 4a * 22
201 No Turning Back E5 6b * 1
202 Sold Down the River E5 6b 2
203 Unknown ?  
204 French Technique 7a * 2
205 American Style E4 6b * 4
206 Bolt it and Believe it 7c *  
207 Tales of the Riverbank E5 6a *** 27
208 Pogles' Wood E4 6a 1
209 The Rattler HVS 5b * 3
210 Anaconda E1 5b ** 60
211 Phil's Route E2 5c *** 32
212 Jungleland E5 6b *** 2
213 Amazona E6 6c *** 3
214 Snakes Alive VS 4c *** 118
215 Judge Jeffries HVS 5c * 1
216 Quiet Life E3 6a ** 15
217 Blue Sister E4 6a * 3
  Dovedale Castle
219 Cat's Eye Corner
-
HVS 5b * 1
220 Castle Crack
-
VS 5a 1
  The Boardwalk Cave
222 Survival of the Fattest f8A 1
223 Roofs Manuva f8A *** 1
  Unknow / New / Awaiting Moderation

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