Scott Titt Yellow Edge E4 5c St Aldhelm's Head Swanage © scott titt
The headland south-west of Worth Matravers provides two rarely visited and contrasting bouldering venues. The quarry perched on top of the headland, close to the coastguard lookout and the 12th century chapel dedicated to St. Aldhelm, the patron saint of boulderers, was quite popular in the '90s and is home to the infamous Dorset 6c. There are a number of entertaining problems across the grades that deserve more attention. The landings are generally flat but, because of underlying scree, a bouldering mat is recommended. The view is great and there is an airy feel to the venue. Some of the sectors in the quarry have upper bands of rock that are shattered and loose. All the problems finish before loose rock is encountered, but this requires a down-climb or a jumo descent.
The wild and sprawling boulderfield of the Undercliff makes the Cuttings Boulderfield seem like Regent's Park. Few people venture here, climbers or otherwise, and it is probably not a place to boulder on your own. However if you are seeking adventure and a sense of remoteness there is little like it in Dorset. The development of the Undercliff was mainly at the hands of Marcus Dymond, often alone and with only one bouldering mat - there's committment for you! West Beach is strictly speaking part of the Undercliff but has a slightly different approach.
Drive through Worth Matravers and follow Weston Road, then Renscombe Road and use the hill-top car park adjacent to Renscombe Farm. Follow the wide track south for 2.4km to the coastguard lookout. A path to the right of the lookout leads into the quarry.
Dates: 1 March to 31 July
Reason: Nesting Birds
Restrictions apply from Pier Bottom (the valley north of St Aldhem's Head) to the east arete of The Yellow Wall and from Buttery Corner (the point at which the undercliff below St. Aldhelm's Head gives way to seacliff) to Slippery Ledge.
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