Outdoor climbing is a real experience on natural crags. Now, these special places need your help to protect them for the future. Remember to leave no trace, think of your impact on the environment and respect others.

Respect the Rock is a campaign by the BMC. Find out more about the campaign here.

Can you climb there? Know before you go - check the BMC Regional Access Database. Understand the ethics and access conditions of where you climb.

Rock is delicate. Use good footwork and clean your shoes to reduce wear. Avoid sandstone and gritstone when it’s wet and more fragile.

Minimise chalk use. It spoils the experience for others. Clean chalky holds and tick marks after you’re finished.

Develop crags responsibly. Talk to the local BMC Access Rep before cleaning vegetation, changing fixed equipment or making other changes to a crag which could affect access.

Think of others when you develop and restore crags

Are you a crag developer? Development of crags and areas is part of the lifeblood of climbing and is a great gift to the community. However, environmental sensitivity is of the utmost importance. Before you do any crag development or restoration, stop and think.

Keep wildlife wild. Treat wildlife and plants with respect, and follow seasonal climbing restrictions for nesting birds.

Park considerately. Use identified parking areas and never block entrances or obstruct traffic. Have a backup plan in case the parking is full.

Leave no trace. Take litter home, including finger tape and fruit cores or peel.

Go before you go. If you’re caught out, pack out your waste. As a last resort and away from popular spots, bury solid waste 15cm deep and at least 50m from water, the crag or paths.

Travel green. Use public transport or car share to reduce environmental impact and parking congestion. 

Keep a low profile. Stick to small groups and keep noise to a minimum.

Don’t climb over walls or fences. Use agreed routes, gates and stiles.

Consider others. You’re representing the climbing community so manage your risk and be aware of other people’s enjoyment of these special places.

Control your dog. Check dogs are allowed at the crag before setting off. Make sure it can’t chase livestock, disturb wildlife or people. Bag and bin dog poo.

Shop locally. Support the local economy.

Use campsites wherever possible. Whether using a tent or a van, respect the local community, park considerately and toilet responsibly.

Join 80,000 BMC members and you’ll help us:

  • Be a powerful voice for all climbers
    Protect our crags and mountains
    Campaign for improved access
    Promote environmental sustainability
    Provide technical and safety advice
    Help climbers improve their skills, confidence and achieve personal ambitions
    Keep our climbing heritage alive
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Click here to see the guidance

It’s good to talk. Discuss your ideas with the local BMC Access Rep before starting work, to establish if there are any known issues that should be considered.

Be aware of nesting birds. Avoid carrying out tree/scrub clearance from 1st March-31st August when birds may be nesting. Check the Regional Access Database and don’t undertake any work during restricted periods.

Check legal designations. Many crags are covered by legal designations for conservation, geology or heritage. These include Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Scheduled Monuments (SM) and more. They don’t automatically stop climbing or restoration work, but do mean there are special features to consider and formal consent may be needed.

Check landowner permission. Depending on the access agreement in place, permission may be needed from the landowner. Failing to do this before starting work could result in lost access.

Consider other users. Climbers aren’t the only visitors to crags. Be mindful of other users, how they might view potential changes and consider public safety at all times.

Be aware of visual impact. Limit the scope of work to only what is needed. Avoid indiscriminate vegetation removal. Often small changes can make a big difference, leaving the surrounding area untouched and undisturbed.

Check the fixed equipment policy for the area. Discuss proposed work with your local BMC access rep before placing or removing any fixed equipment. Depending on the site and type of fixed equipment used, permission may be needed before work can go ahead.

Think twice. Is the work you’re considering essential to make a route or problem climbable? Keep all changes to the minimum required so they don’t stand out in the landscape.

Download the BMC Regional Access Database (RAD) app here:

Respect the Rock: Videos