Cheddar Gorge (North Side)


Crag information
Climbing Area: South West & Southern Rock Type: Limestone
Importance: National CRoW Land: Yes
Ownership: National Trust No. of Routes: 350
Within National Park: No Year Developed: 1925
Grid Reference: ST477545

The north side of the Gorge is predominantly owned by the National Trust and mapped as Open Access land under the CRoW Act which give a right of access for climbers to use these crags all year. The Cheddar Gorge Access Map gives full details of climbing access throughout the Gorge.

The mapo references the latest guide to the Gorge - 'Cheddar Gorge Climbs' (M. Crocker, 2015), which has details of the popular crags on the north side and definitive details of restored routes on the south side. It is available from The Gorge Outdoors shop in Cheddar village, as well as other climbing and outdoor shops in the area.

Parking and Approach

Please only park in the long stay (paid) visitor car parks whilst at the crag. Parking in private staff car parks or any short stay shop car parks in the village will lead to bad relations with landowners and locals.

CRoW Information

Open access land, designated under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act (2000) give area access rather than linear access as provided by public rights of way. It also gives a legal right of access specifically for climbing, as well as walking and other quiet recreation on foot.

Please bear in mind however that the landowner still has the right to restrict access for up to 28 days per year (often used on public safety grounds for shooting in moorland areas), and can also apply for longer term restrictions with Natural England (such as bans on dogs, or regular restrictions during particular times of year). It is important to check for these restrictions regularly as they can be added at short notice – all details for open access land in England can be found on Natural England’s website.  

Group Advice

Most of the land on the north side of the Gorge is mapped as access land, which gives a legal right of access for recreational users, but not for commercial users without landowner permission. 

The National Trust does not, as a rule allow commercial activity (i.e those paying for instruction) on their land in the Gorge. However providers can ask permission by calling the ranger team on 01452 814213 and in certain circumstances this may be given.  Non-commercial groups for whom no money is changing hands are free to access the crags, providing they follow the access advice above.

Area information

Once upon a time, climbing in this spectacular gorge was limited to the winter months, in part due to crags overhanging the road, loose rock, aging fixed protection and the overgrown nature of certain crags. These factors represented an unacceptable safety threat to the huge number of visitors enjoying the gorge during the summer. To address this, The Cheddar Gorge Climbing Project was conceived by M. Crocker in 2005 (part-funded by The BMC and The Climbers’ Club). A massive volunteer effort over the following 4 years resulted in many of the buttresses and routes being restored to a climbable condition. In addition, at the time The Longleat Estate also invested £1 million on rock-catch fencing, removing huge amounts of loose rock and destabilising trees, and this work continues year on year. The project has proven to be a great success and the Cheddar climbing scene is now a vibrant centre for locals and visiting climbers alike.

Weather Information

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