As the Covid-19 lockdown eases, access for climbing is opening back up, subject to some measures and restrictions depending on where you are going. Please make sure you have read and understood our current advice before heading out and apply it alongside RAD advice to ensure access issues don’t develop.

Avon Gorge (Unknown Area)

Avon and Somerset

The towering limestone crags at the left end of the Gorge, comprising the Upper Wall reached from the ramps, and all routes to it's left.

Crag information
Climbing Area: South West & Southern Rock Type: Limestone
Importance: Regional CRoW Land: No
Ownership: Private No. of Routes:
Within National Park: No Year Developed:
Grid Reference: ST 559 746

The land beneath the Unknown Wall, The Exploding Galaxy Wall, and much of Unknown Buttress is privately owned (i.e. the land behind the roadside wall which is customarily used to approach these cliffs) . It is an unusual ownership situation as the rockfaces above are owned by Bristol City Council (BCC). Following a rockfall in January 2013, the (formerly good) climbing access to this excellent section of crag has been banned by the landowner due to liability concerns. Despite multiple attempts to negotiate, (including legal advice that the landowner would not be liable for rockfall from adjacent land), beyond an initial conversation the BMC has not been able to contact the landowner or his agent and has had no further response to correspondence sent.

A legal dispute is ongoing between the landowner and BCC, and until this is sorted out formal or allowed access to the crag is unlikely to be granted by the landowner or BCC. Climbers are advised to re-check this page regularly in case the current situation changes.

If climbers do visit Unknown Wall, The Exploding Galaxy Wall, or Unknown Buttress access is possible by carefully targeted abseils from above. This allows direct access to the base of the crag and – crucially – avoids crossing or belaying from the privately owned land below. Be aware that there is potential for further loose rock in this area, (as there is throughout the gorge) and plan accordingly. Please also note that currently there is no formal or allowed access, and if challenged by the landowner, BCC or agents of either party be polite and leave as soon as is safely possible.


The Portway (busy road beneath the crags of the Avon Gorge) will be closed to traffic on the following days in 2016:

15th May (from 1pm-6pm)

25th September (until 6pm)


Area information

Weather Information

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