Altitude 58m a.s.l
Alan James on the upper slim corner of Machete Wall (E2) at Chudleigh Rocks, © Mike Hutton
Chudleigh Rocks South Face is a popular and pleasant woodland venue with a rich climbing history. The impressive set of buttresses, walls and corners are composed of excellent limestone that, in general, gives well-protected climbing on sustained and technical pitches. There is something here for all, ranging from multi-pitch lower grade classics to a clutch of fingery testpieces, plus a host of superb VS and HVSs. Whilst wire placements are generally solid and reliable, cams can potentially fail to grip in parallel cracks. The odd peg will be encountered on some routes. These get intermittent check and replacement from the locals but not in any organised way, so take a careful look at their condition and back up with other gear wherever possible.
Chudleigh is in the rain shadow of Dartmoor and receives less rainfall than The Dewerstone, Haytor and Cornwall. The sheltered, lowland setting means that climbing is a year-round prospect at Chudleigh, although a bit of seepage can develop in the winter months. As the climbing faces largely south east, daytime heat can be a problem in summer although some shade can be found at most times of the day. As with other limestone venues, polish exists on more popular climbs, which creates an additional challenge on hot days. A good option in that scenario is to look out a less popular line, as virtually all of the climbs at the crag are worth doing.
To reach Chudleigh Rocks from the north, turn off the A38 for Chudleigh. Go through the village and continue straight on through the centre to left turn into Rock Road (by the Police Station). Continue down the road for 100m to parking by a kissing gate on the right.
Go though the kissing gate and follow the path to where it starts to drop down the hillside. Take the path that contours off rightwards around the slope until the shady North Face is seen on the right (private land). Continue a short distance and the first buttresses come into view. Descend easy rock-steps to the base of the crag and the cave of Pixie's Hole.
If approaching from the south, take the first Chudleigh exit off the A38, drive into the village and turn right at the Police Station.
Climbing at Chudleigh Rock is an inherently dangerous activity and climbers should be aware of the risk of personal injury and death. The landowner (The Clifford Estate), is very supportive of climbing at the crag, but requires that all climbers using the crag have 3rd party liability insurance cover up to £10 million. This is an integral part of BMC or MCofS membership or can be obtained elsewhere providing it gives the same level of cover.
Fixed equipment on the crag has not been installed by the Clifford Estate Company Ltd and is not the responsibility of The Clifford Estate Company Ltd. Please be aware that the fixed equipment is not checked or maintained by the Clifford Estate Company Ltd and the Clifford Estate Company Ltd accepts no liability for the death or injury of any person involved in climbing arising from fixed equipment failure.
Do not light fires - in the past this has caused damage to plants and the local bat colony, and could gain climbers a poor reputation if it happens in future.
Dates: 4 April to 30 June
Reason: Nesting BirdsA nesting owl has been reported near Stalactite Direct - avoid this and nearby routes until the young birds have fledged (likely to be in mid-late June).
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