UKC

Climbs 84
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 21m a.s.l
Faces N

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The old man and the sea! © tomrainbow

Crag features

A working quarry until the 1960s, Berry Head Quarry combines superb DWS, soaring trad lines and a couple of good new sport routes. The Main Face had a deserved reputation for loose rock but this has been mitigated to a degree by the 'quarrying' efforts of local climbers since 2014. Keep an eye out for wildlife. Dolphins or porpoises are commonly seen off the headland and a seal may sometimes displace the obligatory jellyfish in your splashdown zone.

Approach notes

Follow signs for Brixham. On approaching the town, pick up the brown tourist signs for Berry Head and follow them to the car park on the headland (fee). Walk up the gated road towards the Northern Fort. Bear left before you reach the fort and follow the road, past a gate and curving steeply down past a quarried bay (Bay 1) on the right. The road continues down to the quarry floor past a gorge on the right and Bay 2 which has limited climbing interest. DWS routes are located along the seaward rim on the left. The high quarry face on the right is the Main Quarry Wall. Continue eastwards along the base of the quarry face to reach Arch Zawn and the Eastern Headland.

Access Advice

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.

Guidebooks

Deep Water

Mike Robertson's award winning Deep Water guide, covering DWS on the English South Coast, Pembroke, Scotland and throughout the world.
More Guidebooks:
South Devon (2018)
South Devon & Dartmoor New Routes Supplement (2007)

Out of print:
The climbs are really good but the area needs a fishermen ban! ( the chavvy littering types at least) On a positive note, the area is home to a friendly but massive seal.
francois - 22/Jun/14
The DWS area is absolutely disgusting, litter and stagnant pools everywhere around the fishing areas. Lead by example and take your crap home. Still, the DWS routes are good fun!
Cheese Monkey - 14/Jul/11
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Climbs at this crag

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