Rock Climbing

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Cornwall is not just about leisurely holidays in the sun. If you fancy something a little more active, rock climbing is a great way to spend some summer days with friends or the family. The majority of rock climbing routes in Cornwall consist of sea cliff climbing routes and there are many places one can climb all round the Cornish Coast. There are some good routes and bouldering climbs further inland but the majority prefer the sea cliffs as they offer fantastic atmosphere!

For novices and those requiring tuition there are a number of rock climbing centers around the county that offer group tuition as well as one on one expertise. In addition many activity centers include Rock climbing as one of their many and varied activities. Below are a handful of routes you may want to consider when planning your climbs around Cornwall.

Tintagel - Lat: Long: 50.66912, -4.76269
A definate hard man's cliff here, the rock could best be described as different. If you fall off, you won't hit anything anyway! Not a lot of easy routes, mostly E4 and up. A very serious and committing crag. There are some easier climbs on the smaller cliffs to the side, but they are not in the same league.
Where? 30 miles west of Launceston. Drive to Tintagel and follow the signs to the Castle car park and pay to park, or park back in town, five minutes away. From here the cliffs are on the west side.

Lands End - Lat: Long: 50.06677, -5.71476
The western most point of England is made of hard wearing granite, but even so, the rock on the peninsula tip can vary greatly. A lot of the rock is very good and sound; in other parts it can be suspect and should be handled with care. The cliffs are battered by strong winds, as you will be if you get stuck here. The cliffs open straight into the Atlantic Ocean and great care should always be taken. The cliffs themselves are sun traps and are warm even in the cold winter months. The cliffs have over 100 climbs and have the largest granite walls in the area, up to 300 feet from the high tide mark. All grades from Diff to E7 are covered here, with some very technically demanding routes also. Definately worth a visit.
Where? Drive to the left end of England and park! Walk to the north end of the hotel and the crags will be below you!!!

Sennen Cliff - Lat: Long: 50.07781, -5.70723
Not a large cliff but a solid one. Good sturdy granite up to 90 feet tall, a great selection of lower grade climbs. Of the 150 or so routes, 50 are below VS. There is also a very good selection of single pitch hard climbs up to E8, very technical in places. Most of the crag is non-tidal, however, heavy seas from the west can make the rock quite damp,and big waves can sweep over the non-tidal base.Best route is the classic Demo Route.
Where? 1 mile NNE of Land's End. Drive to Sennen Cove and find the car park. From the village a path leads west up on the cliffs to a coast guard lookout. The cliff is directly below here, as is the descent route to a large platform.

Porthcurno - Lat: Long: 50.04269, -5.65142
This is a nice area with lots of smaller and broken crags and boulders above nice sandy beaches and tidal pools. It stretches from Porthcurno to Treen, Penberth Cove and Head for about a mile and a half, and on to Porthguaron Cove, where there are four good long V DIFFS. There are some longer routes here also, up to 200 feet from Severe to E2. Warm and south facing, well worth a trip or two.
Where? Three miles ESE of Land's End. Take the B3315 to Treen, then a small road to the coaast at Penberth. From here the small crags are on the coastline to the west, except for Porthguaron Cove, which lies about 800 yards to the east.

Devils Jump - Lat: Long: 50.58828, -4.68024
Granite at a higher elevation, offering some 70 foot routes in the low grades in a very pleasant setting.
Where? 9 miles north of Bodmin. Take the B3266 towards Camelford, 1 mile after Michaelstow there is a track to Trecarne. Park and walk up the valley for half a mile to the rocks.

Cheesewring Quarry - Lat: Long: 50.52482, -4.45791
This is a nice, 120 foot tall quarry with several nice climbs in most of the grades, and there are also some nice hard problems and bouldering at the base.
Where? Seven miles NNE of Liskeard, on the Bodmin Moor at 1,000 feet in elevation. From Liskeard head north on the B3254 for eight miles to Upton Cross and turn left to Minions, which is reached in two miles. The quarry is one mile to the north of here up a track.

Wicca Pillar - Lat: Long: 50.20501, -5.55305
An interesting pillar of granite, about 50 feet high, with plenty of climbing in the Diff to Severe range. Good for beginners since toproping is easy to set up on the more difficult routes
Where? 4.8 miles west of St. Ives. From St. Just go north on the B3306 ten miles to Zennor, stay on the B road, go up a steep hill and around the hill for almost a mile to a track leading to Tregerthen Farm. Park and walk down the track, before the farm bear right over a stile and head down into a hollow leading to the cove and the pillar.

Roche Rocks - Lat: Long: 50.40221, -4.82596
A small 60 foot granite outcrop with lots of bouldering in a non-serious environment. Mainly good in the lower grades, soloing and scrambling for the entire family.
Where? 7 miles west of Bodmin. Turn off the A30 on to the B3274 to Roche.

Carn Gowla - Lat: Long: 50.31511, -5.23387
About two miles of coastal cliffs at St. Agnes Head, mostly about 350 feet high, offering plenty of multi-pitch routes on quite good rock. Not really a place for the novice, but has a lot of HVSs and lower Extremes. The best rock is onthe north side of the head. Very impressive scenery here, without the crowds. The cliff stays damp for several days, so go in a good weather spell.
Where? 710 miles north of Redruth. From the A30 at Three Burrows take the B3277 to St. Agnes and a minor road up to the headland to parking places near the coast guard lookout. The cliffs are on the north and west sides. Have fun exploring.

Daddyhole Area - Lat: Long: 50.45463, -3.51028
This area consists of four smaller cliffs, all around 80 feet tall, and one large cliff at 200 feet tall. The Main Cliff has nothing lower than VS on it, and most of the routes are considered quite serious. The surrounding smaller cliffs do offer plenty of DIFFS and up though, for those who do not want to tempt the tides and the descent to sea level needed to reach the foot of the Main Cliff.
Where? Seven miles southeast of Torquay. From the harbor, take the Babbacombe Road (B3199) and after a few hundred yards signs will point you rightwards toward Daddyhole Plain. After about half a mile a car park will be reached above Daddyhole Cove. Descent to the main cliff is made by following the ridge down to the sea, and then a SEVERE traverse. For the other cliffs, paths can be found leading off the coastal path.

If you have any suggestions for other routes, please send them in.

Rock Climbing | outdoor-activities | tintagel

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