Regional Access Database

Advice Bowles Rocks

Marked as 'Outdoor Pursuits Centre' on some OS maps, this is the hardest and least sandy sandstone crag in the area - it is also south facing and dries quicking.

BMC Area London & South East Rock Type Sandstone
Climbing Area Southern Sandstone Access Status Advice
County East Sussex CRoW Land No
Importance Regional No. of Routes 150
Ownership Private Year Developed 1959
Within National Park No Grid Reference TQ542330

Bowles is owned by the Bowles Rocks Trust and is run as a non-profit making charity. The Centre operates as an outdoor education centre providing instructional courses for groups and individuals. Bowles runs rock climbing courses for beginners, improvers and for indoor climbers moving outside. Bowles also operates 2 dry ski slopes which are open to the public.

Sandhill Lane,
Eridge Green,
Tunbridge Wells,
East Sussex,
TN3 9LW.
Tel. (01892) 665665
email: or visit

A scheme known as ‘Open Climbing’ operates, which means you can climb anywhere not required by the Centre’s instructional courses. It is occasionally necessary to close the rocks completely, but this is extremely rare. Bowles charges for climbing, the present rates being £4 a day, £3 after 5pm, £2 for children and £30 for a season ticket.

At weekends and some evenings someone will come round to collect payment. In office hours please pay in the office. Otherwise put your money in one of the boxes at the far end of the car park or in the office porch. There are vending machines for hot and cold drinks in the Cabin, the small building by the ski slope. Under-18 climbers are only allowed if supervised by a parent, a legal guardian, or a qualified instructor holding authorization from Bowles. Dogs must be kept on a lead, and any mess cleared up. There are a number of routes with cut holds dating back to the 1960s, and it is hoped that no more of these will appear. Most of the vandalized routes can be climbed on natural features only. The Centre discourages the use of chalk on easy routes and requests it is used sparingly on the harder ones. Contrary to the Sandstone Code of Practice, you may see abseiling in certain areas by groups under Bowles instruction where care is taken to protect the rock. The BMC and Bowles management ask climbers to refrain from this potentially damaging activity. There are belay-bolts above nearly all the climbs, and in a few cases these have wire extensions.

Follow this link for the definitive Code of Practice for climbing on southern sandstone;

This page was last updated on 03/10/2012. RAD is updated as and when access changes and a historic date does not mean that the information is out of date, only that the access situation hasn't changed.