One For The Birds

© Steph Jones
Birds in Pembroke  © Mick Ryan
Birds in Pembroke
© Mick Ryan

Spring is in full flow. The soil is warming up, the cherry blossoms are blooming and the thoughts of climbers are turning to warm rock and long days out on the outcrops, sea cliffs and mountain crags of the British Isles.

For some time now you may have been heralded with bird song as you awake. That means our feathered brethren are busy nest building and mating, and some of them maybe nesting on your favourite crag. When these birds are rare or endangered this means that you may have to avoid certain crags or parts of crags.

The BMC and the MCofS have both recently published a list of climbing areas that you must avoid or in the case of some places in England and Wales where climbing is restricted for certain times.

A Crag Near You Will Have A Restriction

In England and Wales check restrictions for crags in the following areas: Chalk, Swanage, Portland, Berry Head, Lundy, Baggy Point, The Gower Peninsula, South Pembrokshire, North Pembroke, Mid Walws, the LLeyn Peninsula, Clywd Limestone, the Little Orme, Great Orme, the Slate Quarries, Gogarth, many crags in the Lake District, Yorkshire Limestone, Lancs and Cheshire, and the Peaks District.

Check Before You Leave Home

For specific crags download this poster and print it out: BMC Bird Poster then stick it up in your kitchen or else!

Also for specific crags, check the Regional Access Database (RAD) which is online and searchable, before you go climbing: Clickety here. This list gives specific access information for most crags in England and Wales.


Alpine Choughs on Lewis  © Lewis
Alpine Choughs on Lewis
© Lewis, Jan 2006
The access situation is legally different in Scotland although the results are the same. Whilst there are no restrictions there are crags that you must avoid because if you disturb some nesting or mating birds you may face legal action. Bottom line is that there are fewer problems in Scotland as birds have more space and there are fewer people.

These cliffs and crags are affected: Sron Ulladale, Harris; Moy Rocks, near Contin; Meig Crag, Strathconon; The Camel, Creag nan Clag, near Duntelchaig; Ardnamurchan Ring; Glen Lednock; Creag Ghlas, Strathconon; Clifton Crag.

There are more and Hebe Carus- Access and Conservation Officer for the MCofS gives us a full run down at here


For bird concerns in Ireand visit the Mountaineering Ireland website here

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13 Apr, 2010
"and the Peaks District." You realise Al Evans is going to rip your balls off for this?
13 Apr, 2010
Remember even if it isn't rare, it's still a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb nesting birds - Check for bird activity before you start a route, regardless of whether there's a ban.
13 Apr, 2010
The link to the Scottish info needs fixing.
13 Apr, 2010
Done. Thanks Adam.
13 Apr, 2010
Here's the RSPB's handy hints for law relating to birds: And these are the birds you're not allowed to photograph at the nest:
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