Bowles is owned by the Bowles Rocks Trust (a non-profit making charity) and run as an outdoor education centre providing instructional courses for groups and individuals. Bowles runs rock climbing courses for beginners, improvers and for indoor climbers moving outside.
A scheme known as ‘Open Climbing’ operates, which means you can climb anywhere not required by the Centre’s instructional courses. It is occasionally necessary to close the rocks completely, but this is extremely rare. Bowles charges for climbing, the present rates being £4 a day, £3 after 5pm, £2 for children and £30 for a season ticket.
At weekends and some evenings someone will come round to collect payment. In office hours please pay in the office. Otherwise put your money in one of the boxes at the far end of the car park or in the office porch. There are vending machines for hot and cold drinks in the Cabin, the small building by the ski slope. Under-18 climbers are only allowed if supervised by a parent, a legal guardian, or a qualified instructor holding authorization from Bowles. Dogs must be kept on a lead, and any mess cleared up.
There are a number of routes with cut holds dating back to the 1960s, and it is hoped that no more of these will appear. Most of the vandalized routes can be climbed on natural features only. The Centre discourages the use of chalk on easy routes and requests it is used sparingly on the harder ones. Contrary to the Sandstone Code of Practice, you may see abseiling in certain areas by groups under Bowles instruction where care is taken to protect the rock. The BMC and Bowles management ask climbers to refrain from this potentially damaging activity. There are belay-bolts above nearly all the climbs, and in a few cases these have wire extensions.