TOP TIP: If you're not quite ready to take on Harrison's rocks by yourself, grab yourself an awesome instructor for the day to (literally) show you the ropes - James has been helping climbers improve their techniques for 15 years. Get involved for your next adventure - Rock Climbing Near London.
Outdoor Climbing is the natural progression from indoor climbing and offers a completely different challenge, of not having coloured hand/foot-holds to guide you what route to take. It means outdoor climbing can have more of a problem solving element and can really push you to maintain good technique. There are a few great days of outdoor climbing to be had around London! Having a car is ideal to get around, but even without one, you can cycle or jump on public transport and be at some of the major climbing spots in not too long.
Harrison’s Rocks climbing
Trad – No
Sport – Yes
Lead – No
Bouldering - Yes
About Harrison’s Rocks climbing
Harrison's Rocks is part of a large area of southern sandstone rock and is one of the biggest outdoor rock climbing areas around London. The craggy sandstone tor is surrounded by the birch and conifer trees of Birchden Woods and is situated by the village of Groombridge in East Sussex. Whilst Harrison's Rocks are the property of the BMC, or the British Mountaineering Council, the woodland around them belongs to the Forestry Commission who kindly allow climbers free access to the site. The hundred acre woods are also popular for year-round forest walks and camping and it's easy to see why - they're stunning! There are upwards of 500 different climbing routes in Harrison's Rocks alone, with camping, toilet facilities and a car park, it's a popular climbing destination. For these routes, check out the UK Climbing Logbook.
Top-roping at Harrison’s Rocks
Conservation of the rock surface is a major concern at Harrison's Rocks. The sandstone is easily damaged by both climbing equipment and the constant tread of climbers shoes. The soft rock is also susceptible to damage from the friction of moving rope. For those reasons, there are strict rules set in place by the BMC to ensure its preservation. No lead or trad climbing is permitted on Harrison's Rocks. The BMC have installed bolted routes for top-roping, and as there's almost six hundred to have a go at, it hasn't affected the variety of climbs available. The BMC have also been great at preserving the wall and adding concrete in places to reduce erosion.
Whether top-roping or bouldering at Harrison's Rocks, the BMC request all climbers to use the correct footwear, shoes with soft soles or proper shoes for climbing, particularly when on the lower graded routes. This helps keep wear and tear on the rock faces to a minimum. Read the BMCs guide to reducing impact the rock before you go.
Bouldering at Harrison's Rocks
Bouldering, the art of climbing with no rope at low levels (usually beneath 6m), with a big soft matt below for when you jump off the wall. The North Boulder at Harrison's Rocks is a chunky hunk of over twenty bouldering problems on one rock and is a great place to get some bouldering experience. Independent to Harrison's Rocks, it offers up four different faces you can tackle from every angle. There's also the Eyelet Wall which has plenty of moderate routes or for something completely different go for The Cave. There are great slabs around the entrance.
TOP TIP: If you're not quite ready to take on Harrison's rocks by yourself, grab yourself an awesome instructor for the day to (literally) show you the ropes and best routes to suit your ability level - James has been helping climbers improve their techniques for 15 years. Get involved for your next adventure - Rock Climbing Near London.
Further afield but well-worth the journey:
For a wealth of choice, some more challenging and higher climbs, with the epic backdrop of the ocean, Portland is an epic place to climb. It's around 3 hours in car or. by train from central London but is the perfect way to spend a weekend climbing. Click here to read more about Rock Climbing in Portland.
Looking for more climbing spots? Check out our other location guides at https://stories.beyonk.com/