Altitude 74m a.s.l
Neal Heanes on Evening Mistress © Ben Stokes
The Cuttings is an excellent and popular inland crag that holds some of Portland's most well-travelled lines. Its easy access, broad spread of grades and sheltered position ensure that there are few days in the year where there won't be someone climbing here. It is an old railway cutting that has left several walls rising directly from a flat quarried base. The walls yield climbing that is mostly sustained and technical in nature, on clean vertical rock. Many of the climbs need lots of finger strength and tenacity, although the profusion of cracks, corners and grooves that bisect the blanker walls give pitches requiring a full range of techniques.
There is also a very well-used beginners' wall set up for groups and individuals to cut their teeth on, which has an array of short, bolted easier routes. Over the last few years, a number of new sections of cliff have been opened up - The Bower, Sunlovers Slab and the outlying Nicodemus Knob have all become popular with their cache of routes between grades 3 and 6. In front of The Cuttings is a massive area of boulders, scree and dense vegetation that runs down to the sea - this is the The Cuttings Boulderfield which is fully covered in the Rockfax book Dorset Bouldering.
Drive through Easton towards Southwell to the Church Ope car park. Walk back up the road for 50m, and at the tiny Portland Museum, turn right onto Church Ope Road. Follow the road under an arch to a viewpoint - a flat area with some benches directly under Rufus Castle. From here, take the coast path (not the path down steps to Church Ope Cove) to a wide track which leads to The Cuttings in a couple of minutes. The New Cuttings is the first cliff reached, quickly followed by The Cuttings cliff itself. The Bower is well hidden only metres from The Cuttings. The Sunlovers Slab is down by the sea.
An alternative and popular approach is to use the often muddy track to the right of Mermaid House - this leads directly to the coast path.
The old railway cuttings on the east coast of Portland provide crags which get plenty of morning sun and also give welcome shelter on days when a cold westerly wind is blowing. Easy access, the spread of grades and it’s sheltered position make the area very popular and it’s rare to ever have the crag to yourself.
Past complaints from nearby residents about the area being used as a toilet have caused some access issues. Please help avoid further problems by ‘going before you go’ or using the public toilet in Easton. No one likes having to avoid a minefield of discarded toilet paper and piles of poo, so if you really are caught short, make sure you shallow bury any solid waste.
Dates: 6 June to 30 June
Reason: Nesting Birds
Kestrels are nesting on the crag in 2020 - please avoid the routes Europe Endless to Hurricane on a Millpond incusive whilst the birds are nesting - likely to be around the end of June.
A rare moss which should not be disturbed - Eurhynchhium Meridionale - grows on the craglets below nearby Rufus Castle.
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.