Southern Sandstone Access: what's changed with the end of lockdown 2?

Posted by Rob Dyer on 02/12/2020
Stone Farm Rocks. Photo: Rob Dyer

With England’s second lockdown ending this morning (2nd December) and a return to a tier system with climbing walls able to re-open, our request to temporarily avoid all southern sandstone crags is changing…

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who followed the request we made on the 10th November to temporarily stop climbing on southern sandstone following the significant damage caused by large numbers visiting the crags whilst the rock was damp over the first weekend of England’s second lockdown. We can’t thank you enough for getting on board, avoiding the crags and helping to preserve the incredibly fragile resource that is southern sandstone.

Following last night’s vote in parliament, England’s second lockdown ended this morning (2nd December) and we have returned to a revamped version of the previous tier system. As a result, climbing walls are able to re-open and we anticipate this will alleviate much of the pressure seen on the crags in the area following closure of walls at the start of November. As a result, we are cautiously changing our position on sandstone climbing after lockdown:

  • We are temporarily changing the advice in the code of practice regarding climbing in wet or damp conditions for this winter. Only climb on properly dry rock – this will usually take multiple days of dry weather in a row before a visit, and even then nothing is guaranteed.
  • If you are unsure, leave climbing for another day. It might be frustrating to travel only to find the crag isn’t in condition, but we all need to have the long term sustainability of the crags in mind. Once holds are snapped or damaged, they cannot be replaced.
  • Always follow the guidance in the Sandstone Code of Practice to ensure you have an enjoyable climb and do your bit to protect these amazing but fragile sandstone crags.
  • Longer term advice regarding climbing when wet/damp will be discussed at the next Sandstone Open Meeting to agree an appropriate future approach. This is part of an ongoing refinement of the guidance based on monitoring changing use of the rocks.

Please also bear in mind that a number of sandstone crags not owned by the BMC remain closed and are likely to stay closed for the duration of the winter in allow hold damage to stabilise. Please check the Regional Access Database for more information on any crag you want to visit before setting off.

WATCH: Southern Sandstone Top Roping: Respect the Rock on BMC TV

WATCH: Southern Sandstone Bouldering: Respect the Rock on BMC TV


DOWNLOAD: the shiny new BMC RAD app

Get all the info on crags with the newly updated RAD (Regional Access Database) app from the BMC! Available now for Android and iOS, it's free and comes with a host of new features like navigation and parking, weather and tidal updates, and of course information on restrictions or notes on access advice. Get it here now!

DOWNLOAD: The RAD app for Android

DOWNLOAD: The RAD app for iOS

RAD is community led and your comments help keep it up to date so don’t be afraid to add any relevant information after a crag visit which might be useful for other visitors – anything from conditions on the crag, favourite routes or reports of rockfall/other recent changes to the crag are all useful for other climbers visiting.


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