Portland climbing

Trad – No
Sport – Yes
Lead – Yes
Bouldering - Yes

About Portland climbing

Portland, part of the county of Dorset, is a small island in the English Channel. Attached to the mainland by a sand causeway and no bigger than four miles by two, Portland has a centuries-old fame for the quality of its stone. Portland stone has been quarried and used for everything from reconstructing London after the Great Fire to making headstones for fallen soldiers during both world wars. The island is also popular with visitors for its connections to the D-Day sailings, its hundred-year-old lighthouses and sixteenth-century castle.

What basically sets Portland apart for climbers are its limestone escarpments and stunning white cliffs. They're the reason Portland holds first place in the UK rankings for sport and lead climbing. There are some trad climbing routes in Portland but the past few years have seen them deteriorate due to the crumbly nature of the rock faces. Most climbers now avoid trad climbing in this location and prefer to climb at nearby Swanage instead.

Top spots for sport & lead rock climbing in Portland

The Cuttings - The Cuttings are aptly named as they're the direct result of old quarry work. Various rock faces offer a total of almost five hundred different climbing routes with difficulties ranging from V0 to V12. The pre-prepared routes mean beginners can get straight on with their climbing without having to worry about positioning climbing nuts. It's all there ready and waiting.

Closest parking – Use the Church Ope car park in the village of Easton, it's free. The Cuttings are a ten minute walk from there along a dirt trail which starts by the bridge.

Location on Map: The Cuttings

Blacknor Beach – Blacknor Beach provides sports climbers and boulderers with some slab-based coastal climbing. There's only around two hundred different routes most of which are graded at a moderate level. The bonus? Fresh sea air and amazing sea scapes whilst you're climbing.

Closest parking: Grangecroft Road car park or as its also known, the Blacknor Cliffs Climbers car park.

Location on map: Blacknor Beach

Dungecroft Quarry – The Dungecroft Quarry is in the Cheyne Wears region of Portland. The quarry walls, which closely resemble natural cliffs, are fully primed for sport and lead climbing. The gritstone slabs offer over forty routes and great climbing for intermediates.

Closest parking: Use the Cheyne Wears car park then follow the trail from there down into the quarry.

Location on map: Dungecroft Quarry

Nicodemus Knob – The Nicodemus Knob is a ten-metre high stone needle and has four sport climbing routes as well as a multitude of trads. The flat-topped pinnacle is a favourite with climbers visiting Portland because each ascent is rewarded with incredible views.

Closest parking: The Heights Hotel or the observation points car park nearby.

Location on map: Nicodemus Knob


Top spots for Bouldering in Portland

There's a multitude of bouldering venues on the island of Portland where you'll find everything from smooth limestone and flowstone faces to rocks with wave-eroded hand holds on the coastal routes.

Portland has some distinct bouldering challenges which are both exciting and testing.

Portland Bill – The unusual stack of rocks near the famous Portland Bill lighthouse has some great routes of all levels which can be climbed accompanied by the crash of the waves below.

Nearest parking – The car park for the Portland Bill Lighthouse and Visitor Centre.

Location on map: Portland Bill

Cheyne Wears – The flowstone face of the Neddyfields Bouldering Wall in the Cheyne Wears area offers boulderers some unique and tough challenges which are practically vertical but still doable by most levels of climber.

Closest parking – The Cheyne Wears car park. The Neddyfields is a five minute walk from there along the coastal path.

Location on map - Cheyne Wears

Southwell Landslip – Venture into the unknown and try something new by bouldering the Southwell Landslip. Not as frequented as some of the other bouldering routes on Portland but every bit as good.

Closet parking - The Cheyne Wears car park. Head north out of the car park toward Church Ope Cove and you'll find the Southwell Landslip.

Location on map - Southwell Landslip

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