Climbs 176
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 74m a.s.l
Faces SE

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Neal Heanes on Evening Mistress © Ben Stokes

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.

Climbing here you are very visable to the public and locals using the this popular section of coast path. Please be considerate and fiendly to avoid any access issues as you are climbing on private land.

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.

The Dorset BMC Access Rep confirmed that there aren't any Kestrels nesting at The Cuttings this year (April 2022) and the bird ban between Endless Europe and Hurricane is not in place.
Climber_Bill - 10/Apr/22
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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