Climbs 135
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude Tidal
Faces S

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Two jugs are better than one… Philatus E3 5c © Ben Richards

Crag features

The western section of Subluminal is a very friendly sea cliff, which has a substantial collection of good, lower-grade trad routes in a largely un-intimidating environment. This is a popular destination due to its ease of access, pleasant cliff-top ledges and sunny aspect - a fine place to climb, socialise and relax. 

In contrast, just to the east, and directly below the lighthouse, is the Black Zawn with its exceptional set of routes that require both commitment and experience. Just viewing these from the zawn rim above is a dizzying experience.

Bracketing Black Zawn are some large cliffs that compliment the two main areas well. The Lighthouse Cliff has some long single pitch mid-to-high grade lines, whilst the Avernus Area holds a number of rarely-climbed steep and hard trad pitches.

Approach notes

Drive through the centre of Swanage and pick up signs for Durlston Castle and Country Park. Drive to the Country Park car park (fee). Walk west along the tarmac road from the car park to the coast path and walk over to the lighthouse. From the lighthouse a path leads diagonally right (looking out) down the grass slope to cliff-top ledges directly above the western end of Subluminal. All of the areas require an abseil approach.

Access Advice

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 1 March to 31 July

Reason: Nesting Birds

The restriction applies east of Scotsman Chimney to the start of Traverse of the Gods.

Rockfax Digital

Available on Rockfax Digital

Rockfax Digital brings together all the Rockfax climbing information with UKC logbooks and presents it into a user-friendly package for use on Android and iOS devices.



The Dorset Rockfax covers the superb sport and trad climbing in Portland, Swanage and Lulworth on the Dorset coast. This amazing area is one of the most popular sport climbing areas in the country with a huge number of routes across the grades and great appeal to climbers of all abilities. Thousands of brilliant routes and a relatively friendly climate mean that the area is always busy with climbers.

The 2021 edition of the Dorset Rockfax is the biggest Rockfax to date with 2700 routes on over 600 pages. It is a complete update of previous guides and released in print and digital at the same time. All the crags have been re-photographed using aerial photography and a new set of detailed maps created to make finding and choosing your chosen route even easier than ever.

West Country Climbs

West Country Climbs is a major Rockfax guide to one of the UK’s most celebrated, sunny and diverse climbing regions. The book is fashioned in Rockfax’s award-winning layout and design, and copiously illustrated with action photographs of the climbs and cliffs that reflect the quality and variety of climbing experiences to be had on offer in the UK’s most popular holiday destination - the West Country. This is a selected route and buttress guidebook which covers the best 900 routes from the crags listed below.

Deep Water

Mike Robertson's award winning Deep Water guide, covering DWS on the English South Coast, Pembroke, Scotland and throughout the world.
More Guidebooks:
Swanage (2015)
South West Climbs - Volume 1 (2012)

Out of print:
Dorset (2012)
Dorset (2005)
Dorset (2000)
Swanage and Portland (1995)
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Climbs at this crag

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