Monday 21 October 2019

Bowles Rocks - Public Access Under Threat

The Bowles Rocks Trust is a non-profit making charity that supports children and young people to achieve their potential through outdoor education.  It should be seen as a privilege to climb at Bowles Rocks as it is on private land, with just a small fee to pay to climb there. However, like on any private land, there are rules to follow. The majority of climbers follow these rules, but some spoil it for the rest and on this occasion is threatening future public access.

Bowles have issued a statement concerning antisocial behaviour.

“Bowles are having issues with a minority of climbers. We are having increasing incidences of climbers not respecting that we are a charity for young people and will always have young children on site. The specifics are climbers that are coming into Bowles and taking part in antisocial activities, urinating in bushes and trees and allowing dogs to run loose and uncontrolled. These actions have caused huge problems with the school groups they have had in and are threatening their ability to provide a safe environment for the young people.

We are taking a number of actions, anyone suspected of antisocial activities will be reported to the police and CCTV and number plates will also be handed over. Anyone urinating in bushes will be permanently banned from using Bowles, as will repeated offenders who refuse to control their dogs.

If the issue continues, we will be forced to taking further action which could include (at its most extreme) banning climbing when we have groups in. As this would mean no climbing for about 90% of the year and only open during a few weeks in winter, this is not an action we would like to take. 

We hope that a stricter approach and help from the majority of respectful climbers, that this action will not be needed. Bowles would like to ask climbers to spread the word that the above behaviours are not acceptable.”

Bowles is amongst the three most popular climbing destinations in the south-east and the loss of access would be a huge blow to all. High Rocks still has no access and the effects have been felt across the sandstone climbing community.