A working quarry until the 1960s, Berry Head Quarry combines some excellent DWS on the quarry rim with some soaring lines on the intimidating Main Face. The latter has a reputation for some suspect rock, although this has been mitigated to a degree by the efforts of several local climbers since 2014. Leaders should be suspicious of any cracked holds/blocks (pull on something else!) and belayers should stay out the drop zone.
The headland has important statutory environmental designations and is a Local Nature Reserve. Dolphins or porpoises are commonly seen off the headland and a seal may sometimes displace the obligatory jellyfish in the DWS splashdown zone. Fulmars may nest on ledges on the main face and smaller birds may inhabit the solution holes and small caves. The rock face is perhaps most important as a habitat for rare bats, which also occupy the caves and holes. The quarry area is popular for fishing, birdwatching, dogwalking and swimming, so climbers should take due account of the recreational interests of others. Any loose rock removal on the Main Face must be carried out with great care.
In communication with the moderator in early 2022, the Berry Head warden explained that Torbay Coast & Countryside who manage the site are against the establishment of any further 'fixed anchor' climbs (sport climbs in our terminology) being established at the quarry, observing that they result in increased climbing activity - that being considered unfavourable in terms of impact on birds in particular. So as not to risk access for all climbers, anyone left frustrated by that position is encouraged to take up the debate with the warden, who has an office on the reserve and is approachable and willing to discuss the conflicting issues which affect the nature reserve. He emphasised to the moderator that, although there is no bird ban on the quarry face, any birds that do nest on climbs should be left alone or given a wide berth - temporary signs or notices might be placed at the base to this effect. Avoiding the nesting season on the Main Face is no great hardship as the best climbing conditions on the north-facing crag typically do occur from mid. July through to late September.
[Also in relation to access, clarification that the BMC RAD text which appears below applies to the South side Old Redoubt to Oz Wall, not the North side quarry area].
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, but bear left before the fort and follow the continuation road to a rightwards curve where the view ahead of the quarry opens out and the road falls towards the quarry floor. A large, very chossy quarried bay (Bay 1) is passed on the right. A second, large bay (Bay 2) is then passed, reaching an area of concrete slabs with a gateway. Beyond that, DWS lines are located along the seaward rim on the left. The high quarry face which is now present on the right is the Main Face. The first high tower delivers the first of the full-height routes, Dirt Eater, with Yellow Rurties to the left. A prominent projecting tower further along is taken by Equipoise. Continue eastwards along the base of the face to reach Arch Zawn and the Eastern Headland.