Monday 14 March 2016

Sandstone - Spring 2016 Update

Spring is on its way and the clocks will move forward one hour on 27th March, giving us climbers much more appreciate daylight time to get out on the sandstone! There have been some updates and changes over the past year in the South East, and here is a quick update with everything you need to know for your sandstone excursions in 2016!


Car Park Charges – Harrison’s Rocks

Harrison’s Rocks (aka Birchden Wood) car park is now owned by the Forestry Commission and has a pay and display machine installed. Prices for cars are currently £1 per hour, £4 per day or £6 for 24 hours. The campsite and facilities are open this year and currently cost £5 per adult and £2.50 for children. If you go to Harrison’s frequently, you might want to make a saving by purchasing a yearly ‘discovery pass’ for £27.

For more information check out this article with links to the Forestry Commission website for updates.

Isolated Buttress Issues – Harrison’s Rocks

The Isolated Buttress is still inaccessible by stepping across, and care needs to be taken when accessing it, either by soloing up an easier route or by putting your own safety ropes across. Please note that any ropes put in place will need to be taken down at the end of the day. Any ropes that are left in place will be taken down for safety reasons. The BMC accepts
no liability for the safety of any ropes left
in situ. For the full story please click here.


High Rocks is privately owned and there is a fee for entry into the grounds. Although there are many restrictions on this crag, the sandstone community has fought long and hard to keep the access to the rocks for climbers to use, so the rules, however restrictive they may appear at the moment, must be adhered too.

A daily ticket for non-members is £10, this is reduced to £6 after 5.30pm. Yearly membership costs £50, and a daily ticket for members’ guests cost £7.50.

For the full story on High Rocks please Click here.


Bowles Rocks is a popular crag, especially in the summer months. It is an outdoor centre with its own
natural sandstone outcrop. The rocks are accessible to climbers at all times as long as climbers have their own equipment. At times you may be asked to relocate along the crag if an organised session is taking place.

Prices are as follows: £5 per adult (£4 after 5pm) £3 for children (Under 16)
If you find yourself visiting Bowles frequently, you might want to consider buying a yearly pass costing £32 per person. Tickets and passes can be bought from the office at the entrance car park.


The HRMG (Harrison’s Rocks Management Group) are currently updating the Code of Practice for

As the rock is very fragile, a set of rules must be followed.

The main points to consider are:

- Use a non-stretch belay rope and sling.
- Make sure the karabiner hangs over the edge of the crag.
- Make sure moving ropes do not come into contact with the rock.
- Clean your shoes before starting each climb.
- Walk off when you have finished a climb, do not lower off.
- Do not abseil.

The full version will be out this year.


The sandstone open meetings offer the chance to have your say on southern sandstone climbing and management issues. These meetings are open to all climbers to attend and are usually held at Bowles Rocks a couple of time a year. Issues discussed, for example, range from access issues, top-roping and other ethical issues, erosion of crags, repair of crags, bolting issues, use of chalk, groups using the rocks, bouldering issues and much more.

The next 2016 meeting will be held on Sunday 15th May at Bowles Rocks bar at 6.30pm. The BMC usually provide food. To read the previous minutes of meetings, please visit our Meetings Page.


If you are lucky enough to find a new route to climb on then ensure you add it to the UKC logbooks. Contributing in this modern way  will ensure your routes are recorded  and allow other climbers to rate route grades and add their comments.


Tom Gore has been busy on the sandstone. Check out his latest South East Round-Up on UKC.


Climbers hate rainy days, but luckily there is a brand new bouldering wall called Karma Climbing which is a dedicated bouldering facility in Tunbridge Wells which is now fully open. No matter the weather, you have no excuse to not keep strong!