(Summer prohibitions are in place as detailed in the approach notes, please read the approach notes in full.... Put briefly, don't climb on the south side unless you have read all the small print!... bans are in place during several public holidays... spring break, bank hol wkends, the whole of July + Aug, but even then there are still some allowed areas which you can discover by reading the approach notes.)
Mostly good quality limestone on the sport routes, but often dirty, vegetated + of variable quality on the trad. Mainly middle grade climbs, predominately single pitch to 30 metres.
Firstly, to clarify one often misunderstood access note.... The "Summer Season" area... It unfortunately does not mean climbing on routes in that area is allowed throughout the whole of summer!... for alot of the summer, yes, but there are some quite lengthy prohibited periods too... These are holiday periods, most notably the whole of July and August, the spring Bank hol week, and other weekends whenever there is a Bank Holiday, to protect tourists from loose rock /breaking holds and dropped gear, most of the south side is prohibited at those times. But a few variations are listed below.
Please read all the approach notes info, restricted access info, and check the most up to date access info here by downloading the new 2019 access map. https://www.thebmc.co.uk/download.aspx?id=1732
The South Side is privately owned, and to climb on any of it, Civil Liability insurance (e.g. from BMC, MCoS, CC Membership) is mandatory and proof of this must be carried. Spot checks are regularly carried out by the warden (this is not so for the North side, as it is owned by the National Trust, but is still recommended).
Much of Cheddar's South side (North-facing = the right hand side as you drive up the gorge) is banned during times of public and school holidays. This includes ALL the multi pitch sport routes. In addition, some of these marked (WW), are only allowed during Winter Season = 1st Oct to 15 March.
For a trial period which started in 2019, during the public holidays and summer restricted periods, on the South Side after 6pm, 3 crags will have the restriction lifted...
On Horse-shoe Bend Buttress, Yew Tree Wall, and Ginsberg Wall, from 2019 during the holidays, climbing is now allowed after 6pm. This is for a trial period.
Also from 2019, South side restrictions have been lifted for all crags going up the road from and including Reservoir Walls, so the following crags now have unrestricted access, i.e. all year, as part of the trial period for 2019...
Reservoir Walls, Eden Crack Area, Quaking Wall, Pepys Rock, Roadside, The Holding Bay, The Pigs Hole, Elliot's Edge, The Far Bay, and Spider Hole Quarries.
Everything else South side is then prohibited during these holidays including trad and sport on Long Wall and Scary Monsters area and crags immediately above, and especially WW routes are prohibited for the whole of summer season!
If climbers can be seen to be carefully following the agreement and not straying into restricted areas, then these access gains may become a permanent fixture.
Many thanks to BMC Cheddar warden Mark Courtiour and Cheddar Caves and Gorges for successfully negotiating this. Please remember to follow the agreements and stick to the Cheddar climbers code of conduct which is on pg 9 of the latest (2015) Martin Crocker guide book.
Details of all other restrictions can be viewed in the guide, in the box on page 10, (also top of page 8 to bottom of page 9), or near those page nos. if older MC guide.
You can buy this in the "The Gorge Outdoors + chalk + gear + all sorts etc, opposite Cheddar Gorge cheese Co, just after 1st car park at bottom. It's open M-Sat 10-5, Sun 11-4, although not sure if this changes a bit in winter. Some other shops there may also sell it if climbing shop has ran out...
Please check the most up to date access info which is on the BMC RAD pages, and the link below will download the new 2019 access map.
Please click the Restricted Access advice below left for full info.