With its rugged coastline and granite heart, the West Country offers visitors a myriad of climbing opportunities to suit all abilities. The real challenge though lies in deciding where exactly to start, so where better to base yourself than a traditional Devon or Cornwall cottages . From your cosy retreat you are then free to explore what the West Country is most famous for – striking natural beauty with climbing potential jagging out from all directions.
Starting in Devon it is impossible not to divert your attention immediately towards Dartmoor National Park, renowned for its iconic granite tors and windswept baron landscape. The obvious choice is to head towards Hay Tor, which acts as a magnet to those looking to test out their moorland climbing skills. You certainly won’t be short of company here, and there are sections which are accessable without any climbing equipment, so suitable for all levels and ages. Away from the crowds there are around 7,000 hectares of climbing and bouldering opportunities across Dartmoor, suitable for both groups and individuals. Places of particular interest include Hound Tor and Dewerstone, but there are so many places just waiting to be discovered that you are often best speaking to the locals for their personal recommendations.
On the edge of Dartmoor you will find Chudleigh Rock, offering North and South limestone climbs of all standards. Set in 10 acres of unique grounds there is also the opportunity to explore caves, abseil and take tree top adventures.
Moving towards the South Coast you will be confronted with an assortment of climbing challenges – this is where you will find the English Riviera, which has received international recognition for its rich geological heritage. Around Torquay there are popular climbing venues along the stretch of coastline between Meadfoot and Babbacombe, offering you the challenge of scaling the red sandstone cliffs with the sea lapping away below. With all that sea air then what better place to end your exhilarating day than retiring to a fishermans cottage, dotted throughout picturesque Brixham? They will certainly bring you back to earth with their unique charm and character.
Away from Devon and you enter the neighboring county of Cornwall, a veritable goldmine of granite routes and crags covering almost 300 miles of stunning coastline. From Lands End, the Lizard and Sennen along the North and South East coastline there are so many climbing locations that this region is often regarded as one of the top climbing destinations in the UK by visitors and locals alike.
The number of climbing spots on offer is matched by the range of high quality self-catering properties spread throughout Cornwall. Many places are located on rugged cliff tops and provide the perfect location for inspiration and plotting your next adventure.
Travel inland and there is the opportunity to climb independently or take an instructed course on Bodmin Moor. One of the most popular spots here is the granite quarry at Cheesewiring although other favoured spots include Kilmar Tor, Bearah Tor, Trewortha Tor and Hawk’s Tor.
With the West Country surrounded by the finest waters and award winning beaches it would be rude not to take full advantage of them. If you are looking for action packed family fun then coasteering comes highly recommended. Combining climbing, swimming, traversing and scrambling there is the opportunity to dive off those rocks into the deep blue below. This is a great alternative for those in need of an adrenalin rush and can be carried out just about anywhere along the coastline.
Wherever you decide to visit you will be sure of a warm welcome and there is no better way to get up close, literally, with all the beauty that the West Country has to offer. Picture yourself surrounded by friends or family in your holiday cottage recounting tales of climbing adventures whilst looking out on nature at its most spectacular. You will soon become as hooked as your carabiner!