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Rock Climbing In Cornwall

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This peninsula at the south-western tip of the UK is a tale of two coasts in many ways. The south coast is known as the ‘Cornish Riviera’ and is home to many pretty harbour villages such as Fowey and Falmouth, and some gorgeous estuaries. The north coast is much more exposed to the Atlantic swells and is a lot more rugged as a result, but home to one of the activities Cornwall is most famous for: surfing. Both coastlines are awash with stunning beaches, and between them are home to a huge array of great activities, pretty villages, superb restaurants and various other great attractions. And that’s not to forget about the inland areas too, most notably Bodmin Moor, which provides some spectacular vistas and activities. The region is host to a fantastic growing arts and crafts scene centred around St Ives, and home to the world-renowned Eden Project too. There is evidence both inland and on the coast of the area’s mining heritage too, often providing an interesting backdrop to many activities there, and related to its most famous literary denizen, Poldark.
Rock climbing in Cornwall

Climbing in Cornwall

With over 300 miles of pristine coastline, filled with glorious beaches, mysterious coves, peaceful creeks and most importantly stunning sea cliffs, Cornwall is a dream climbing destination for all types of climber, whether sport, trad or bouldering! Whilst the sea cliffs at locations such as Bosigran, Sennen, Chair Ladder, The Lizard, Rosemergy Towers and Land’s End are the most obvious outlet for climbing in the region, there’s also moors (eg The Cheesewring on Bodmin Moor), quarries (e.g. Carn Brea Quarry), and even underground caves to capture the attention of climbers of all levels on single and multi-pitch routes. There are also many indoor climbing walls for all levels.

Best climbing locations in Cornwall

  • Bosigran: with a reputation as one of the best climbs in the country, this granite cliff on the Penwith Peninsula should be on all climbers’ bucket lists when in Cornwall. Commando Ridge is the most well known of the routes, but there’s so much choice here, all with fantastic views and set high above the Atlantic ocean below. It’s all well above the high tide level though, so no need to have to factor tide times in. Other routes of note include Alison Rib, Little Brown Jug and The Absolution.
  • Chair Ladder: this is an immense sea cliff offering a multitude of pitches up to 70m high, and is particularly suited to the more advanced climbers. Terrier’s Tooth is of note, comprising an exposed slab over the sea, but other routes to look out for include Pendulum Chimney, Pegasus and Bishops Rib. Some routes can only be accessed at the bottom for a few hours either side of low tide, but other routes are always available even at high tide.
  • The Cheesewring: the most well-known climbing location on Bodmin Moor, this quarried granite offers a good range of single and multi-pitch routes, up to a height of 120ft. Routes of note include Simanon Direct and Eyefull Tower.
  • Sennen: a well-known sea cliff above the fishing village of the same name, it offers slabs, cracks and overhangs for all levels, up to 90ft in length. It’s particularly good for less-experienced climbers with many easier routes, though all climbers should enjoy the popular Demo Route, and harder routes include 29 Palms and Tears of a Clown. There is also plenty of bouldering available on the wide platform here.

Climbing in Cornwall

What are the best climbing locations for beginners in Cornwall?

  • Wicca Pillar: an impressive 50ft granite pillar with routes up to around 80ft, it is perfect for top-roping and for those learning. It also comes with magnificent views of the coastline below.
  • The Culm Coast: stretching along the cliffs of North Cornwall and into Devon, the Culm Coast comprises lots of folded and buckled cliffs, heavily eroded by the sea which has left narrow headlands and free standing fins for climbers to play on! Many of these are not vertical, allowing weight to be placed more on the legs, making for some ideal beginner routes. That’s not to say there’s not still options available for the more experienced climbers!
  • Eden Project: we don’t normally include specific facilities or walls, but being pretty unique we thought this one worth a mention! The famous Eden Project has a selection of routes of varying difficulty on their climbing wall up the cliff face by the Rainforest Biome. There is also a separate bouldering wall with climbs up to level 7c.

What are the best bouldering locations in Cornwall?

  • Carn Brea: an easily accessible and fun bouldering site, sitting on top of a large hill near the village of the same name. A handy monument on top of the hill guides you to the boulders, in which there are a great variety of problems with mostly grassy landings beneath. Notable boulders include Snoopy Boulder and Hidden Tiered Boulder, whilst the best area is to the left of the monument with some great arete climbs.

Why go Rock Climbing?

Rock Climbing is a great way to see some of the most stunning places, get fit and healthy in the process and have a great time. There’s a wealth of spots to climb, with over 1000 destinations, 150 climbing walls and hundreds of climbing clubs in the UK. See below for some of the best climbing courses in the UK. For some, climbing is the challenge of getting to the top, for others it's the puzzle of working out the route and how to approach the different hands and footholds. There's also the fitness side of course, being a fantastic total body workout, and particularly effective for those doing indoor bouldering on midweek evenings! Then there's the locations. Outdoor climbing locations are often in some of the most stunning locations in the country, and with the climbing itself you are able to get up close and personal with the landscape, and often able to access locations and views unavailable to anyone else! It’s also an incredibly social sport. When at an indoor climbing wall, it’s natural to talk to others about how to climb routes.
Rock Climbing Near Me

Who is Rock Climbing Suitable for?

There's a climb for everyone, and part of the beauty of climbing is that the challenge is relative for each individual. There are plenty of climbing clubs if you'd like to join others and do it more socially and learn from peers, and it can be a great family activity too for those with a bit more experience. For those less confident there are plenty of guides and instructors always happy to share their passion with new people to the sport. There are also plenty of great UK climbing forums for further advice and information.

Climbing Overview for Beginners

Climbing is a great activity for everyone, from individuals, groups, families, friends and corporates. Conquering a climbing route or your fear for heights in a group is a great bonding experience. Climbing doesn’t have to be a huge challenge. There are many ways to get involved with the sport that are more accessible than the crazy films like El Capitan where Alex Honnold climbs over 2km without ropes. Try a guided climbing session to take it easy and pick up the basics, or try bouldering at an indoor climbing wall.
There's different techniques and methods to climbing that make the sport that little bit more interesting and challenging.There’s also a wealth of kit and equipment needed for the different types of climbing. And there’s different ways to get involved with the sport. Don’t worry - it’s easy to pick up. We’ve put together a bunch of resources so that after reading them you’ll be clued up on your next rock climbing experience. Below are some useful rock climbing resources to learn more.
Rock Climbing In UK

Useful Rock Climbing Resources

  • A Beginners Guide to Rock Climbing We’ve created a resource for beginners to rock climbing to outline the different types of rock climbing from bouldering, sport climbing and trad climbing and more. What equipment you need and the various ways to get involved with the sport, whether that be joining a local club, going to an indoor climbing wall or booking an instructor.

  • A Beginners Guide to Rock Climbing. We’ve created a resource for beginners to rock climbing to outline the different types of rock climbing from bouldering, sport climbing and trad climbing and more. What equipment you need and the various ways to get involved with the sport, whether that be joining a local club, going to an indoor climbing wall or booking an instructor.

  • A Guide to Outdoor Rock Climbing in UK. We’ve pulled together a resource to outline what to expect when climbing outdoors in the UK, including the differences from indoor rock climbing and what kit to take.


Bouldering in the UK

Bouldering is the act of climbing, typically up to 20ft without ropes but with big soft matts beneath. As the height of the climb is not high enough to cause injuries (assuming you fall correctly of course), it’s a great way to get into the sport without having to get used to the technicalities of using ropes, belay devices and the other equipment associated with other types of climbing. To get involved with bouldering, look up your local climbing wall and ensure they mention they have bouldering on offer. Most climbing walls do offer bouldering nowadays. Also, you can find outdoor places to go bouldering. If you’re doing this as a beginner, make sure to organise an instructor who can ensure you’ve got the right equipment (including a bouldering mat to fall on), and show you the best routes and techniques. Cornwall

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