Top spots in North Devon for Beginner Outdoor Climbers
In our last blog post, we gave a round-up of everything you need to know as a beginner rock climber. If you’re feeling confident with indoor climbing, having climbed at the gym several times, had a rock climbing induction and learnt how to use the ropes… it might be time to set your sights further afield!
Outdoor rock climbing is perfect for those who want to try climbing whilst experiencing the beauty of North Devon. Why not try outdoor climbing for the first time with the Ultimate Adventure Centre? You could start off on our outdoor climbing wall in Bideford, which enjoys stunning views of the North Devon countryside, for a climbing experience that is safe whilst exhilarating.
Once you’ve gained some good experience in climbing techniques and all of the outdoor safety procedures, you can think about continuing your outdoor adventures with a spot of rock climbing around Devon.
Of course, this is something you shouldn’t even think about until you have the necessary experience – and if you’re unsure, it’s essential to hire a rock climbing guide to take you – otherwise you’ll be putting your safety at risk.
Before you head outdoors, make sure you are totally confident with setting up an anchor, tying knots, belaying and using equipment, as well as working out which climbs are appropriate for your ability.
Or, head to the coast with our instructors to try a spot of coasteering around the North Devon coastline. This adventure sport is a mixture between easy scrambling over rocks, a bit of light bouldering, open-water swimming and jumping into the sea! Head to the famous Baggy Point (a local climber’s heaven!) to try this extreme sport with our expert professionals. This is the perfect activity for friends, hen and stag dos, and even children’s parties.
Where to climb in North Devon
With a little more experience, you can start to think about going on your own climbing trip. Simply get all the necessary safety gear together, hire a climbing guide, find a crag you like on UK Climbing crag map or in a local climbing guidebook, and get outside!
Screda Point, Hartland
Coastal climbing in North Devon is a real experience – there’s nothing quite like climbing with the waves crashing beneath you. It’s not for the faint hearted! Screda Point is one good spot to visit with your climbing instructor. Here, you can set up an anchor using spikes that have been hammered into the ground, and belay from the top of the cliff. The belayer can carefully abseil the climber down, who will then try one of the easy routes found in a logbook (4C is about as hard as you should go as an intermediate climber)! This is a good example of slab climbing on the North Devon Coast’s famous culm rock – and it can be crumbly, so always wear a helmet and watch out for small flakes that can snap! Ensuring you find the right climb for your abilities, this is enjoyable climbing with great views.
Sheeps Tor, Dartmoor
If ‘chossy’ culm isn’t your cup of tea, head towards Dartmoor, where solid granite climbing is the standard. Sheeps Tor provides excellent climbing for lower-grade climbers with routes up to 10 metres high – not too tall for beginner outdoor climbing. You can reach this crag from Sheepstor village, heading north via a signpost to ‘The Kennels’ up to the tor. Consult your North Devon climbing guidebook to find a route within your range. Areas such as Mushroom Wall are particular favourites of intermediate climbers.
Irish Man’s Wall, Dartmoor
Also on Dartmoor is Irish Man’s Wall. Located at Belstone Tor, this is actually a man-made wall with a rich history, offering two crags 50 yards apart. There are some easy top-rope routes here, particularly around the central corner of the Surform Buttress, with classic ‘steppy’ formations, but large ledges for a reassuring yet fun climbing experience. This is solid granite climbing with panoramic views over the North Devon moorland.
Bouldering in North Devon
Alternatively, if you don’t fancy setting up the ropes, why not try bouldering in North Devon? Again, this is an activity with an element of risk, so it’s important to go with a guide until you know what you’re doing – and remember to take plenty of bouldering mats and helmets with you!
Hartland Quay is a good place for intermediate climbers to develop their bouldering skills, whilst meeting more experienced climbers who are usually happy to impart their wisdom. There are a range of easier boulder routes strewn across the beach on big boulders. Lay down your mat carefully, get a partner to spot you, and try out some of the easier, ‘juggy’ climbs.
Download the Hartland Quay Bouldering Miniguide by Dave Westlake to check out where you can find the easier grades on the beach. Or, for more information about rock climbing in North Devon, contact us on 01237 88 00 28.