Five year bolting moratorium for Cheddar

Posted by Tony Ryan on 27/11/2009
A popular Cheddar Gorge. Photo: Niall Grimes

Representatives of the landowners of Cheddar Gorge met recently to review the issue of bolting in the Gorge, and have decided that there should be no further bolting of rock faces.

The National Trust and Cheddar Caves & Gorge jointly own and manage Cheddar Gorge. Both organisations have supported the Climbing Restoration Project, which has seen established routes cleaned and made safe, new routes opened up, and an extension to the times of year when climbing is permitted. They would like to thank all those involved in the project, as well as the climbing community which has supported the project by climbing in the Gorge whilst abiding by the agreed code of conduct. The project was conceived in 2005 by local activist Martin Crocker and part-funded by the BMC and the Climbers’ Club.

The owners are satisfied that a good balance has now been struck between climbing opportunities and their own responsibilities for conservation and landscape management and for safety of the public in Cheddar Gorge; and in recognition of this they have recently sponsored a new definitive guidebook to climbing in the Gorge. They believe that the bolting restriction will enable this balance to be maintained. The restriction applies with immediate effect to the whole of the Gorge, and will be reviewed after the five year period. The landowners are prepared to consider applications to place bolts in the Gorge if it can be demonstrated there are exceptional reasons to do so or there will be a demonstrable public safety or conservation benefit. Applications would need to be made in writing to the appropriate office: Cheddar Caves & Gorge for the south side, the National Trust for the north side of the Gorge.

The BMC SW Area has reviewed, discussed, and accepted the moratorium, noting that the landowners' submission was wholly positive and praiseworthy of the climbing efforts to date. The Area has agreed that it would align its area bolt policy to accommodate the landowners' bolting moratorium. It noted that only on exceptional grounds could bolts be placed during the moratorium and only after applications in writing/email had been approved . It agreed that it should maintain a watching brief over the responses to any such applications. Therefore any climbers applying to either landowner to place bolts should copy their application, and the response received, to Jerzy Wieczorek, the Chair of the BMC SW Area: chairman.jerzy@gmail.com
 



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From Lundy to Cheddar, Wintour's Leap to Ebbor Gorge, our access team have been working hard in the South West recently. A number of issues have been resolved, check out this access update for all the details.
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