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Climbs 171
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 74m a.s.l
Faces SE

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Leer of beethoven © James O'Neil

Crag features

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.

Approach notes

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.

Access Advice

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.

Seasonal Restrictions

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.

Rockfax App

Available in the Rockfax App

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Guidebooks

Dorset Bouldering

Dorset has emerged as a major bouldering area in recent years thanks to the hard work of a bunch of diligent locals who have combed the coastline seeking out every block, problem and traverse. In addition to the well known areas of the Cuttings, the Boulderfield and the Neddyfields, the book has extensive information on the West Coast of Portland, many more areas on the East Coast, plus Swanage and Lulworth. It describes over 1500 boulder problems on over 350 pages.
More info

Dorset

The latest edition of the Dorset Rockfax features the now widely acclaimed full-page colour topos, and includes all the new lines in the areas previously covered, as well as many entirely new sectors. The crags are illustrated using bigger topos and there is a complete new set of action photos. This new Rockfax guide will concentrate on Portland, Swanage and Lulworth, covering all the sport routes in these areas, and also the bulk of the quality trad climbing at Swanage and Lulworth. Coverage of bouldering and deep water soloing, along with all the routes in Devon have migrated from this book.
More info

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.
More info
More Guidebooks:
Portland (2008)
Swanage and Portland (1995)

Out of print:
Ope Slab and Hourglass Slab have been lost to the February 2014 storms. That affects routes from Doris Does Trad to Chockstone Crack.
johnl - 07/Feb/14
Great climbs, However do agree with other comments, grades are slightly lower than I feel they should be. Best climb of the year so far, (it is only the first of January 2014). Great day though, great fun.
TerryHoward - 01/Jan/14
Great crag and boulder field, drys out super quick so makes the perfect winter bouldering location! :-)
Beastly Squirrel - 01/Jan/13
The Ditch no longer exists.
Richard Horn - 15/Dec/08
Excellent crag. Lots and lots of reachy, technical test pieces. However, not really worth visiting if you can't climb F7a or harder. Fred
FredMead - 06/Mar/06
The guide is fantastic - congratulations! One point on the Cuttings though. Page 165, route 17 "Three Fingers" is surely not a grade 4. Two of us climbed it and thought it a polished 5+. The third finger has of course fallen off as your photo shows and I wonder if it has been regraded since then. In your 2003 miniguide you put it at 6A rather than 4 which may be mistake (or is it?) but its certainly not 4, - which might cause problems where people are trying to up their grade in an area where except at the short worn out left hand end, there are few lower grades to try out. Hope this is useful.
marcus - 22/Aug/05
Agree, Blacknor is much better for novices, some of these routes are so pollished as to be at least a grade harder. My girlfriend thinks 2 grades!
Russ - 21/Aug/04
I was taken down to the Cuttings for my first bit of sport climbing and was pointed to the \'easy\' grades up one end (2 to 4+). Unfortunately these routes are now highly polished and I\'m sure that most people are likely to find them a great deal more difficult than their grade may suggest.
John Wellbelove - 22/Jul/02
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Climbs at this crag

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