Restricted Access

It is important that climbers wanting to deepwater solo on these crags MUST call Brixham Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre on (01803) 882 704 before descending to the base of the cliffs. Climbers have caused a number of false call outs in the past - this creates significant problems for the rescue service and may jepordise future access on the Nature Reserve.

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 1 March to 31 July

Reason: Nesting Birds

Berry Head is becoming a mecca for deep water soloing, but it is also an important breeding site for many seabirds. Historically, access was completely restricted during breeding but thanks to the efforts of local climbers, the BMC and Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, the restriction has been made variable. This means it will be lifted as soon as nesting has been completed. The variable restriction has been granted on the condition that the following is adhered to:

1) The Great Cave and pitch 1 of Rainbow Bridge is still covered by the restriction (1st March to 31st July) and NO ACCESS is permitted. This is because the birds frequent the large platform. The standard approach for Rainbow Bridge (and The Great Cave) crosses this platform and will disturb the birds so climbers must choose one of the following options: a) Abseil from the metal post en route to The Great Cave (just beyond a red access notice) to an in-situ thread at the end of pitch 1. b) Down-climb HVS rock just to the left (looking out) of the post. This is not recommended for those who don't know the route.

2) The final Terminal Zawn (pitch 11) is still restricted. A marker just before this shows the extent of the ban. Climbers should exit up VS territory above the marker.

3) Access restrictions still apply to the following: - White Rhino Tea Buttress (Barnacle Traverse Continuation) - The Oz Wall - The Ledges above the Oz wall, beyond the Terminal Zawn. - The Great Cave and Bismark Wall. Markers have been positioned at both ends of the "open" section and these will show whether or not you are allowed on the traverse. This can be checked by contacting the Berry Head Rangers office (01803 882619).

Please contact the ranger if you are confused about cliff accessibility. A few other considerations: If you fall into the sea (during the restricted nesting season) getting out is now much more problematic as you must NOT get out at the Great Cave ledge (doing so would disturb the nesting birds). Those concerned by this should opt to abseil in (see b above) - doing this allows you to leave a rope through the in-situ thread at the base of the abseil to facilitate pulling out of the sea....or make the big swim to the ‘ Red Walls’ area.


Rockfax Description
A mighty fine Deep Water Solo (DWS) traverse that crosses the terrain linking the Old Redoubt's Great Cave to the headland to the south. The climbing is steep and sustained but fun, and for the most part on generous holds. A couple of huge rockfalls on the headland have significantly altered the end of the traverse and at low water the finish is not above a safe amount of water, although swimming is always an option. Around 350m of climbing. Start at low tide in the Great Cave. Scramble into the back of the Great Cave and traverse back out steeply on its opposite wall to gain a tidal ledge (the start of Moonraker). Continue on good holds and pass an overhanging buttress, either very low on barnacles, or high on more difficult ground. Continue along to a steep black wall. Climb up this, then traverse to the Green Grotto, where you may have to get damp feet to pass across its entrance to the opposite side. Follow the juggy wall beyond The Green Grotto all the way along to the edge of the much bigger Blue Grotto entrance. Head through the Blue Grotto to emerge on the other side of the headland (via a span to cross from one side of the grotto to the other). If damp, the climbing through the Blue Grotto becomes much harder and if the tide is low then a swim/wade may be a safer option at one point. Finish by scrambling up to the coastal footpath which leads back to the car park and descent path to the Great Cave. © Rockfax

UKC Logbook Description
Rockfall November 2018 means the traditional finish of swimming to the promontory and scrambling back up to the mainland is no longer possible. All climbers must continue through the Blue Grotto to the far side of the headland. The climbing is excellent 6a+ but harder if the humidity is high. It is fairly straightforward to swim through the cave if the tide isn't running too strongly.

FA. Rusty Baillie, John Cleare (some aid) 31/Dec/1967. FFA. Frank Cannngs, Pete Biven 03/Jan/1968.


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Guidebooks for Berry Head - The Old Redoubt

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High 6b
Mid 6b
Low 6b
High 6a+
Mid 6a+
Low 6a+
High 6a
Mid 6a
Low 6a
Votes cast 70
Votes cast 96
Style of Ascent
Alt Leads
Not Set
Flashed (β)
Ground Up
Not Set
Route of Interest
Close to the Edge

Grade: 6a+ S2 ***
(Berry Head Quarry)

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