UKC

Restricted Access

The south side of the gorge is privately owned by Cheddar Caves & Gorge and forms part of the Longleat Estate. It is not Open Access land under the CRoW Act (2000), unlike the National Trust owned land on the north side of the Gorge. Cheddar is unique in the fact that many of the crags are directly above a busy road which forms part of a major tourist attraction in the area. Unlike many crags, where a dropped piece of gear or rock is unlikely to have any impact on a member of the public, in Cheddar it has far greater potential to injure a visitor or damage a car. 

Because of this, for climbing on the south side the year is split into three seasons according to the number of visitors to the gorge.  During the busiest periods, all crags on the south side are closed, during the moderately busy periods only the restored routes (which have been cleared of loose rock as far as possible) on the south side are open, and during quiet periods all routes are open. These seasons are based on school and public holidays so change slightly every year.

Anyone climbing on the south side of Cheddar Gorge must carry civil liability cover of at least £10 million. This comes as standard with BMC or MCofS membership or can be organised separately. BMC/MCofS membership cards or details of your individual policy must be carried as proof of cover whilst climbing on the south side of the Gorge and the climbing warden and CC&G staff carry out frequent checks. Civil liability is also recommended for anyone climbing on the north side of the Gorge, but is not a requirement.

The BMC Cheddar Gorge Access Map has full details of which areas can be accessed during which periods. This should be considered required reading for any climber visiting the Gorge, regardless of which side or area you plan to climb on. A trial started in 2019 allows additional access to some areas so check the map before you visit as new year round access is available on three crags, but climbers need to demonstrate an ability to follow the agreed restrictions to make this a permanent lifting of restrictions.

The latest guide to the Gorge - 'Cheddar Gorge Climbs' (M. Crocker, 2015) – has a definitive list of restored routes on the south side as well as routes on the north side. It is available from The Gorge Outdoors shop in Cheddar village, as well as other climbing and outdoor shops in the area.

The latest guide to the Gorge - 'Cheddar Gorge Climbs' (M. Crocker, 2015) – has a definitive list of restored routes on the south side as well as routes on the north side. It is available from The Gorge Outdoors shop in Cheddar village, as well as other climbing and outdoor shops in the area.

It has been reported that there is some confusion or misunderstanding of the use of the terms "restored" and "unrestored" routes in relation to access.  Restored routes are trad routes that were cleaned and equiped with lower off bolts, and sport routes that were  bolted or rebolted and equipped.  This work was carried out as part of the Cheddar Gorge Climbing project between 2003 - 2005.  All these routes are described in the current guide book  - Cheddar Gorge Climbs by Martin Crocker.  The access agreement  only includes routes found in this guide.  Some restored routes in the guide remain as winter only routes. This includes most of the multi pitch routes in the gorge. Full details are in the guide.  The climbs on the South side listed in previous guide books and not found in the current  book, including the previous CC guides are winter access only - 1st October -- 15th March.

Annual loose rock removal carried out by the landowners has nothing to do with access changes for climbers and has no bearing on on the climbing access agreements.  It is carried out entirely in the interest of safety for visitors to the gorge.

 

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 16 March to 30 September

Reason: Public Safety

Due to the proximity of Cheddar's cliffs to the road and tourists below, there are complex access restrictions which vary depending on the time of year and section of cliff on the south side of the Gorge. These restrictions are fully detailed in the BMC's Cheddar Gorge Access Map.

Please ensure you follow the access agreements detailed on the map to ensure that future access is able to continue. It is imperative that climbers self police otherwise access permission may be withdrawn by the landowner Cheddar Caves & Gorge.

Easy but friable lower wall to a rest below the overlap. A superb sequence leads to better holds and a move left onto slabbier terrain. Recover then push on up to the big overlap and step left to a lower-off.

Ticklists

Cheddar Sevens , Littlejohn South West Climbs , The road to paradise lost , Brizzle goalz , Sadact’s Cheddar Legacy , Bolts to clip in Cheddar , The post lockdown local list , Bristol Bangers , 7Bs with stars near Bristol , Bristol Sport Pyramid

Feedback

User Date Notes
Mark c 18 Jun, 2020 Show βeta
βeta: Hi Pete, thank you for your restraint. Whoever it was who told you not to climb was mistaken. Access to the "summer season" routes on High Rock is absolutely fine until the end of the month. As you rightly surmise, the fence has nothing to do with barring access for climbers, but was intended to stop general visitors from getting too close to the fall zone for rocks. However, the Showcaves business will be under pressure, many of its staff furloughed and a change of management is imminent. As I said, your action in moving on, even though you were in the right was admirable. And hopefully very helpful for continued access. During the closed Whitsun period there were far too many breaches by climbers of the access agreement. This will not have gone unnoticed by the Cheddar Caves management. Its a very delicate time, and those people can accept some responsibility should things go wrong. I'll speak with the Showcaves office and explain the situation. Many thanks again Mark Courtiour BMC Somerset area rep and Cheddar access warden
βeta?
Show beta
βeta: Hi Pete, thank you for your restraint. Whoever it was who told you not to climb was mistaken. Access to the "summer season" routes on High Rock is absolutely fine until the end of the month. As you rightly surmise, the fence has nothing to do with barring access for climbers, but was intended to stop general visitors from getting too close to the fall zone for rocks. However, the Showcaves business will be under pressure, many of its staff furloughed and a change of management is imminent. As I said, your action in moving on, even though you were in the right was admirable. And hopefully very helpful for continued access. During the closed Whitsun period there were far too many breaches by climbers of the access agreement. This will not have gone unnoticed by the Cheddar Caves management. Its a very delicate time, and those people can accept some responsibility should things go wrong. I'll speak with the Showcaves office and explain the situation. Many thanks again Mark Courtiour BMC Somerset area rep and Cheddar access warden

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Voting
High 7b+
Mid 7b+
Low 7b+
High 7b
Mid 7b
Low 7b
High 7a+
Mid 7a+
Low 7a+
Votes cast 64
Votes cast 65
Style of Ascent
Lead
Toproped
Followed
Alt Leads
Not Set
Redpoint
Dogged
Onsighted
Repeated
Flashed (β)
DNF
Not Set
Route of Interest
Paradise Lost

Grade: 7b ***
(Cheddar Gorge South)

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