Unknown climber at Lulworth Cove © gooding
The Lulworth area lies at the heart of the Jurassic Coast, and is popular with visitors attracted by the remarkable scenery, fine coastal walks and beautiful beaches. For the climber the main event is the fantastic overhanging faces and architectural rock arches. The position of the walls perched above the sea not only adds atmosphere to the bolted climbing, but also allows great deep-water-soloing, for which the area has become renowned in recent years.
On the eastern side of Lulworth Cove itself is another climbing area - Lulworth East, which has some worthwhile sport and trad pitches that usually involve spectacular roof climbing. To the west of Lulworth Cove lies a high ridge of steep pinnacles (Dungy Head) and a huge boulder on the seashore known as Church Rock. These provide a complete contrast in style with generally easier, pocketed wall climbs that may be an attractive option when the arms can no longer lock-off at Stair Hole, or for those in search of easier grades. The final area is Durdle Door, with its famous and much-photographed arch, which is home to several sustained pump-outs.
Lulworth Cove is well signed from the town of Wool which is on the A352, between Wareham and Dorchester. The main crags are approached from the large car park (fee) in West Lulworth.
Dungy Head/Church Rock - Walk up the road, past the Cove Centre, and continue up the steep hill on the right. After 200m turn left up a hidden track, by a large double garage, just past Stair House and follow this steeply to gain a ridge. The routes are all approached from here.
Stair Hole - Walk up the road, past the Cove Centre, and continue over a ridge to descend into the Stair Hole basin. Do not bear left towards the telescope on the hill.
Lulworth East - These are the cliffs situated on the far side of the main Lulworth Cove.
Durdle Door - Durdle Door can easily be reached by walking over the hill from Lulworth. Alternatively you can park in the car park which is situated at the far side of Durdle Door campsite. There is a parking charge in the Summer but not in the Winter.
The climbing on Stair Hole, Dungy Head and Durdle Door all fall within an area of land mapped as Open Access under CRoW. Climbing is a permitted activity under the CRoW legislation so there is a legal right of access to all three areas for climbers, walkers and members of the public.
A climbers code of conduct has been developed to help address concerns about conflict between climbers, members of the public and nesting birds - please follow the guidelines closely. Please take a discrete approach to climbing in the area which periodically attracts negative attention through tombstoning and the resulting injuries and rescues. Climbing and DWS are clearly different and permitted here, but can be caught up in media stories about tombstoning, so make an effort to keep a low profile so as not to encourage members of the public to have a go.
For safety reasons, there is no public access to the military ranges east of Lulworth Cove (which are used for live firing), other than on days when the ranges are open due to firing not taking place and even then only the marked path can be used. This means that no climbing can be accessed within the ranges at any time as it would necessitate walking off of the marked path.
Reason: Nesting BirdsProtected birds have been known to nest on crags in the area (in particular Dungy Head) in the past. Please observe any on site signage regarding restrictions if the birds do return.
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