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Climbs 223
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 180m a.s.l
Faces W

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Paul Dearden on Monsieur Mange Tout (E5 6b) in Dovedale © Alan James

Crag features

The north-south gash of Dovedale has a fine set of climbs on the various bits of rock scattered along its length, and has long been a firm favourite with limestone climbers. Many of the climbs finish on proper summits which is an added attraction. The Dale is the most popular tourist destination in this guidebook; in summer hoards travel up and down the valley gazing in awe at the spires, fins and arches that make up the superb rock architecture scattered along the Dale. Ascents of the free-standing tower of Ilam Rock, and the climbs around the Doveholes in particular will always draw a crowd of onlookers and the Pickering Pinnacle and Tissington Spires are also quite public, though fortunately there are plenty of more discreet bits of rock for those who don't perform well in front of a crowd. Whatever your chosen destination, many pieces of rock described here are only home to a small set of quality routes, to get the most out of a good day's climbing out of a visit you will need to go to more than one buttress.

Approach notes

Dovedale is the valley between Thorpe Village at its southern end and Milldale at its northern end. It runs parallel to the main A515 Buxton to Ashbourne road which is the best road to gain access to the villages at either end. There is a large free car park in Milldale, and a large expensive car park just past the Izaak Walton Hotel at the Thorpe end. A substantial path follows the east bank of the river for the entire length of the dale and this gives access to Bailey Buttress, Dove Holes, Pickering Tor and Tissington Spires. The one bridge gives access to Ilam Rock but Dovedale Church and Ravens Tor usually require a spot of wading. More detailed approaches are given with each buttress.

Access Advice

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 15 March to 30 June

Reason: Nesting Birds

Peregrines are nesting at Tissington Spires - please avoid all routes on South Gully Buttress (Zulu Dawn to Amoeba inclusive) during the restriction period.

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Guidebooks

Peak Limestone

Selected guidebook covering the best trad and sport limestone crags in the Peak District.
More info
More Guidebooks:
Peak Limestone - South (2018)

Out of print:
The 'very expensive' carpark near Thorpe is only 2.50, so don't be too dispirited if you can't park at the free one to the North of the area!
Rebecca Ting - UKC and Rockfax - 29/Jun/15
I climbed there this weekend and getting to the routes was fine. There are quite a lot of nettles in the gullies, especially below John Peel area, but the paths are obvious. Quality trad limestone.
ctodd - 04/Sep/11
Hi Steph, I know that underused climbs can return to nature very quickly. I have climbed in the John Peel area recently and that seems fine - as does the Ten Craters area. The paths aren't the best I'd agree, but it's all part of the fun of limestone. Dovedale is managed by the National Trust - I'm not sure what their policy is on crag clean-ups. I'll raise it at the next BMC area meeting. Cheers, Alan
EarlyBird - 02/Aug/11
The climbs at Tissington Spires are very inacessible. I went 30th July 2011, and couldn't get anywhere near the rock, as so many plants/trees has spiralled out of control. It is a shame as it is a large area and looks like some great climbs. There are some sort of pathways up but they are very stoney and dangerous to climb with all your gear on your back. Would be good if it all got cut back to a decent level so it can be acessed. Don't believe the rockfax picture, nothing like it now!
climbingsteph - 01/Aug/11
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Climbs at this crag

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