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Scott Titt Yellow Edge E4 5c St Aldhelm's Head Swanage © scott titt

Crag features

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.

Approach notes

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.

Sept 2022 - Height restriction barrier (6" 6") on the Renscombe Farm car park. Larger vehicles will need to park in the main car park in Worth Matravers and do the long walk.

Restricted Access

The upper cliff had some good trad climbing that is worth looking at if the swell is affecting other areas of the Swanage cliffs. A steady head is needed to deal with the odd loose section of rock but is often better than it looks. One nut crack area has some friendly routes to get you started. The Yellow wall is a big adventure in its self and see few assents, but when the evening light is on it looks amazing.

The boulder field is worth making the long trek with pads to explore, just take it steady down the steep entry slopes.

Seasonal Restrictions

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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