Lewes Castle

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Lewes Castle
( Fall Bay Buttress )
Lewes Castle from the west
Lewes Castle from the west
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time 15 minutes
Area Gower
Sub Area Rhossili
Local Area Upper Crags Fall Bay To Mewslade
WGS-84 Location 51.562208, -4.289296
OS Grid Ref. SS 414 872
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.565848, -4.270856
GR Parking Location SS 427 876
Parking Postcode SA3 1PJ
Base Elevation 15 metres (Other)
General Info
Faces Direction South West
Aspect Sunny
Wind Sheltered Seldomly
Climbing Type Normal
Seepage Quick drying
Crags Within 400m

Cathedral Wall, Conglomerate Cliff, Devil's Truck, Eyeball Wall, Giant's Cave, Hairy Dog Wall, Jacky's Tor, King Wall, Lewes Castle, Little Block, Rolly Bottom Buttress, The Aisle, The Prows, The Pulpit, Upper Jacky's Tor, Yellow Wall

RAD Notice/Restriction Lewes Castle@BMC RAD





No bolting.


Either left (normally better) or right from the raised ground at the top, via well worn paths.


Lewes Castle West

Lewes Castle West topo

This is the upper buttress overlooking Fall Bay and is justifiably popular. It provides excellent climbing, mostly at the VS and HVS, grades. It is non-tidal and the approach is via the path contouring round below the iron ladder on the Fall Bay approach, which leads to the Great Terrace. Towards the seaward (south) end is a prominent left-slanting groove leading up to the overhangs at their widest point (Osiris). Back left is a prominent vertical corner crack (Isis).

1. Fall Bay Girdle 85m HVS,5a,4c,4b **

An excellent traverse line under the roofs. Omitting P1 makes the route VS.

  1. 24m Climb Ket to the break.
  2. 31m Traverse right via some awkward moves to gain the arête left of Isis. Cross the groove of Isis and belay in the cave where Isis crosses the overhang.
  3. 30m Traverse right until clear of the overhangs, then easily up to the top.

The first prominent feature of the crag is a short corner above two holes halfway along the path (Ket).

2. Bucket 36m HVS,5b

Take the crack in the wall 2m left of the short corner. Climb past the crack, PR, to a ledge, go right to a corner (Ket), then carry on up the crack in the headwall.

3. Ket 36m HVS,5a

Climb the short corner and then a subsequent shallow corner slightly left to a cave at two-thirds height. Finish up a broken groove on the left, taking care not to dislodge the monster block.

4. Mandrake 36m HVS,5b

As for Ket, but finish directly up the crack rather than the broken groove.

5. Eclipse 36m E1,5c

Take the crack in the wall 2m to the right of the start of Ket. Climb the continuation wall steeply, PR, to gain a crack and follow his past overlaps above. Cross the overhang at twin cracks.

6. Seket 36m E1,5b

Start 1m right of Eclipse at the foot of a groove, below a small triangular overhang at half-height, 4m left of the obvious corner crack of Isis. Climb a groove and slab to an overhang, over this past golos and climb a crack in the wall to the right. Follow broken grooves directly to the top.

7. Monkey See And Monkey Do 36m E4,6a *

Start to the right of Seket below a faint groove with a PR at 5m. Climb this groove via a bold pull over an overlap (crucial Friend 4). From the top of the groove, move up to a pancake, clip an inverted PR to the right, then pull through the overlap at a TR. Wander up and right to finish.

8. Reptiles And Samurai 36m E4,6a *

An excellent and direct line with some blind climbing. The gear is good, even at the start, given the patience to place it. Start right of Monkey See And Monkey Do. Climb straight up a white wall, good RPs. Pull over a bulge to a short groove. From the sloping shelf above, pull up direct or slightly right, lots of PRs. Overcome the roof, crux, poor PR, but good rock 3 in the lip. Continue up the short groove to a break. Move left to finish up the broken groove above.

9. Welsh Witch 36m E3,6a

Climb the slabby groove immediately right of Reptiles And Samurai to the base of a slim square-cut groove right of Reptiles and just left of the main corner of Isis. Climb this easily, to gain a ledge, PR and some poor rock. Climb the crack to the right to gain the top of the Isis groove. Place a thread and finish direct.

10. Isis 36m HVS,5a ***

Classic. Start below the obvious corner crack in the centre of the cliff. Climb a steep wall to gain the main corner crack, which is followed to the main overhangs. Traverse rightwards to a cave (possible belay), move right and climb the overhang at its narrowest point, then trend left to the top. A cheesy right-hand start is available up the left-hand of the cracks to the right.

11. Horus 36m HVS,5a *

Start just right of Isis below two diverging cracks. Climb the right one, PR, to below a bulge. Step left to a small pinnacle and climb to a break. Cross the overhang as for Isis and finish direct.

12. Rhea 36m HVS,5a **

Start below a short dark slab, 5m right of Isis, with a rightward-slanting groove/crack above. Climb to a recess and then the groove, PR. Move right onto a rib, follow this and the adjacent groove to a break. Pull through the overhang at the v-groove just left of its widest point.

13. Lazy Sunday Afternoon 36m E2,5b **

A poor and contrived start (past the old bolt holes on route) leads to the brilliant finish. It is much more sensible to gain the finish via Seth or Osiris. Start at the foot of a short steep wall midway between the starts of Rhea and Osiris, beneath the widest part of the overhangs above. Climb the wall and the rib above to belay on Osiris. Continue over the roof at its widest point, TR, PR and climb steeply up the wall above.

14. Frantic Sunday Morning 36m E2,5c

As for Seth, then step left and finish over the roof to the right of Lazy Sunday Afternooon. Contrived.

15. Osiris 36m VS,4c ***

Splendid. Start at the prominent leftward-slanting groove system towards the right-hand end of the face. Follow the groove to the overhangs at their widest point (possible belay), PRs. Traverse right to pull over the overhang at its weakest point and so gain the top.

16. Seth 36m E1,5c **

A good route, with a very tricky crux. Climb the lower groove of Osiris for 5m, then a steep crack in the right wall to a break. Finish as for Osiris, or move left for a three star outing by finishing up Lazy Sunday Afternoon and an E2 tick.

17. Horsis 36m HVS,5a *

Climb the lower part of the Osiris groove, then move diagonally right to another groove. Follow the left-hand cracks past a large block to the overhangs. Finish up the easy groove just right of the overhangs.

18. Ra 36m HVS,5a

Start to the right of the grooves of Osiris. Climb the wall to a groove/corner high on the face and swing left onto a rib near the top. Combines the better climbing of Nieblung (J.Talbot, P.Hinder 1973) and Father Christmas.

19. Fallout 36m VS,4b

Only for people who like this sort of thing ... It's loose! Start at the lowest point of the front of the buttress and climb directly to the top. Some people head right for the pegs of 'South East Diedre' to escape.

20. South East Diedre 36m HVS,5a

Start right of the base of the buttress, below an obvious south-east facing corner. Climb the corner until a bulge forces a move leftwards onto a pinnacle. From this gain and climb the final overhung corner past two pegs to the top.

21. Continuity Corner 36m HVS,5a

The vague groove system 10m right of South East Diedre

22. Gstelli 15m S

The gully dividing Lewes Castle West and East.

Lewes Castle East

To the east and separated from Fall Bay Buttress by Gstelli, is another large buttress overlooking the Great Terrace. It has a cave at half-height and an obvious wide crack up on the right. The first route takes the wall right of the gully.

  1. Gethsemane 31m S,4a **
    Start below the right wall of the gully at a short wall with an open groove above. Tiptoe rightwards across the wall to gain a ledge at the foot of the groove, follow it to a large ledge and move out right onto a rib which is followed to the top.

  2. Eden 31m HS,4a
    Start down and right of Gethsemane at two grooves. Climb the left-hand groove to below a triangular overhang, hand traverse left and finish up the rib above the overhang. Some loose rock.

  3. The Bottle 31m VS,4b *
    Start below the cave. Climb a crack and easy groove to the cave, move out left onto a pedestal and follow the steep crack above to the top. A harder, more direct start gains the steep crack directly via an obvious groove/ corner (HVS,5b).

  4. Cave Cracks 31m E2,4b,5c
    1. 12m As for The Bottle to the cave.
    2. 18m Climb to the roof, then swing in from the left to gain poor jams. Finish steeply up the obvious cracks.

  5. Cave Cracks Direct 31m E3,5c *
    Gain the jams above the lip from directly below.

    Lewes Castle East

  6. Age Before Beauty 31m E1,5a
    This takes the wall right of The Bottle and left of South West Diedre. Start at a small cave 3m right of the start of The Bottle. Climb flakes rightward and move left into a shallow groove. Follow this and a shallow chimney to a ledge. Finish up the wide crack, avoiding easier ground to the left.

  7. South West Diedre (left variant) 35m E1 5
    Take South west diedre to a point about 3m below the break. Move up diagonally leftwards to s small ledge in a corner. Climb a groove then make a difficult move into a small hanging groove . Climb this until it eases with a flake line to to the top.

  8. South West Diedre 33m HVS,5a **
    Start 5m right of The Bottle. Climb a corner and groove to a ledge, step back left and up to a small overhang at three-quarters height. Go over this and finish up the steep crack above.

  9. South West Diedre Variant 33m VS,4c *
    From the ledge below the overhang of the parent route, follow the corner crack to the right instead.

  10. Instigator 33m HVS,5a
    Start at a vertical crack 3m right of South West Diedre. Climb the crack to a definite widening, bridge up and then climb a groove by its right wall to the recess below the corner crack. Step onto the rib or, better, follow a diagonal line across the upper smooth wall.

    The old route South East Pillar (HVS,5a C.Bonington, J.Cleare 1964) has fallen down. (See note on Discussion Page).

  11. The Revolution's Here 36m E4,6a *
    Climb the grooved rib right of Instigator to join that route at 25m. Follow flakes up the headwall to the top.

  12. Combination 45m VS,4b
    Start just left of the front of the buttress. Climb a blocky groove to the upper wall, hand traverse the curving crack below the upper wall leftwards and continue round the arête to a recess below a corner crack. Finish up this.

  13. South East Arête 36m E3,5c *
    Take the slim narrow left-facing corner just right of Combination into the easier-angled corner and climb onto the headwall. Pull up to the wide crack of Combination left of the arête to a horizontal break. Using finger pockets move up and right onto the arête to a large Friend placement and a juggy finish.

    The east wall of the butress was extensively cleaned in 2018 and is now a pleasure, though still adventurous, to climb.

  14. Rhydd 36m HVS,4c
    Start just right of the pillar right of Combination on Rickety rock. Climb the corner crack in its entirety past a hole near the top.

  15. Rash Prediction36m E1,5b *
    Takes a direct line up to the small open corner at two-thirds height, 4m right of Rhydd. Cimb the face carefully to a vertical finger crack line. Follow the crack a slight bulge. Climb over this and up to the corner. Scramble a few metres to the corner above. climb this to the top

  16. Every One's A Coconut 36m E1,5<brStart 1m right of Rash Prediction, climb the face carefully to a vertical mini corner. Follow the crack and flake above a bulge, then step right and back left into a short corner to the good horizontal break. Carry on up the rib above to the top

  17. Twilight 36m HVS,5
    Start 3m to the right of Every One's A Coconut. Follow grooves and corners direct to the top

    Right of Twilight the crag becomes very broken. However at the far right, the upper portion of the cliff becomes more solid and provides a small buttress.

  18. Till Rock Doth Us Part 12m E4,5c *
    Start 1m right of the groove with a crack on its left wall that bounds the impending buttress on its left. Climb straight up via various thin cracks, move left beneath a vague rib, finishing up a thin crack to good holds.

  19. Gerontology 58m VS,4b,4b,4b
    A right to left girdle. Start as for Combination.
    1. 28m Follow Combination to the recess below the upper wall. Traverse left along the horizontal crack to belay below the wide corner crack#15m Step down leftwards into a groove (South West Diedre) then traverse left to the cave of The Bottle.
    2. 15m Move left to a pedestal, step down and continue traversing across two grooves to ledges on Gethsemane. Finish up this.

Twin Buttresses

Topo lewes castle twin buttresses.jpg

At the head of the grassy gully above Giant’s Cave and just below the clifftop path is a pair of buttresses separated by a narrow grassy gully. Despite first appearances the rock is solid and not as vegetated as might be expected.

  1. What Took You So Long? - Severe
    Start in a triangular niche about 4m down to the right of the separating gully. Climb the rib on the right of the niche and continue in a fairly straight line to the top with a steep little rib just before the finish. 12 m.

The Pan

Down to the right of Lewes Castle is a recessed area of conglomerate, set above a hole. This is The Pan.

  1. JT Where Is He? 8m HVS,5a
    The shallow groove above the left end of a rightward-rising flake above The Pan.

  2. Down The Pan 9m VS,4c
    The flake going rightward over The Pan.

  3. That Cistern Feeling 10m E3,6a
    Reachy. Use the two big blocks on the conglomerate on the right and swing left onto a flake overhanging The Pan. Pull straight up the leaning brown wall to jugs and a bridge over the zawn. Finish up the easier face above.


Lewes Castle West

  1. Fall Bay Girdle - R.Griffiths, M.Hogge 1967
  2. Bucket - R.Wadey, M.Murray 09.1997
  3. Ket - E.Pardoe, R.Leigh 1967
  4. Mandrake - P.Christie, R.Evans, G.Morris 1986
  5. Eclipse - R.Wadey, M.Murray 09.1997
  6. Seket - E.Pardoe, A.March 1968
  7. Monkey See And Monkey Do - A.Sharp, P.Lewis 17.02.2002
  8. Reptiles And Samurai - M.Crocker, M.Ward 28.06.1987
  9. Welsh Witch - A.Sharp, D.Morris, P.Lewis 24.03.2002
  10. Isis - R.Griffiths, E.Pardoe AL 02.1967
  11. Horus - P.Hinder, J.Talbot 1975
  12. Rhea - R.Leigh, T.Smith 1967
  13. Lazy Sunday Afternoon - G.Evans, J.Bullock 1989 G.Lewis, S.Mundy - Final Roof 1982
  14. Frantic Sunday Morning - B. Heason, M.Heason 10.1997
  15. Osiris - E.Pardoe, R.Griffiths AL 02.1967
  16. Seth - J.Talbot 1970
  17. Horsis - E.Pardoe, R.Griffiths 1968
  18. Ra - (J.Talbot, P.Hinder 1973). G.Evans, P.Christie 1988
  19. Fallout - J.Birch, J.Geeson 1967
  20. South East Diedre - J.Talbot, P.Hinder 1972
  21. Continuity Corner - J.Talbot 1973
  22. Gstelli - J.Talbot 1971

Lewes Castle East

  1. Gethsemane - SWMC 1966
  2. Eden - J.Talbot 1971
  3. The Bottle - J.Talbot, P.Hinder 1974
  4. Cave Cracks - P.Littlejohn, A.Davies 18.03.1980
  5. Cave Cracks Direct - A.Sharp, D.Morris, P.Lewis 24.03.2002
  6. Age Before Beauty - G.Evans, P.Christie 1988
  7. South West Diedre (left variant) - C Wyatt 23.09.2017
  8. South West Diedre - SUMC 1967
  9. South West Diedre Variant - J.Kerry, C.Ryan 1968
  10. Instigator - J.Kerry, M.Hogge 1969
  11. The Revolution's Here - M.Crocker, J.Harwood 24.04.1999
  12. Combination - J.Talbot, P.Hinder 1973
  13. South East Arête - M.Crocker, J.Harwood 24.04.1999
  14. Rhydd - E.Pardoe, R.Griffiths 1968, G.Evans, K.Moran ALCH 1985
  15. Rash Prediction - C.Ryan, P.Greenwood 1970. Direct finish C Wyatt, Petar Samkov 14.4.2018
  16. Every One's A Coconut - M.Crocker, J.Harwood 24.04.1999
  17. Twilight - J.Talbot, P.Hinder 1972
  18. Till Rock Doth Us Part - E.Kellar, A.Wilson 1990, M.Crocker Direct 24.04.1999
  19. Gerontology - A.Beaton, M.Danford, G.Richardson 31.08.1986

Twin Buttresses

  1. 'What Took You So Long? - G. Evans, M. Jenner 24.05.2017

The Pan

  1. JT Where Is He? - M.Crocker solo 24.04.1999
  2. Down The Pan - M.Crocker solo 24.04.1999
  3. That Cistern Feeling - M.Crocker solo 24.04.1999