school group rock climbing

Rock climbing

Bowles is one of the best rock climbing venues in the South East, with its south-facing, quick drying sandstone and excellent access. Bowles Rocks are currently open for climbers from 5pm until dark every weekday, with other groups onsite in the daytime. The rocks are currently open all day Saturday and Sunday.

Bowles is the only UK outdoor centre with its own natural sandstone outcrop suitable for climbing – there are more than 230 climbs up to 10m in height with grades from 1a to 6c. Bowles is soft sandstone so our guidelines should be followed to look after the rock.

Rock climbing courses and lessons

For beginners learning to climb, or for indoor climbers looking to move outside, our instructors will help you build your confidence and rope work skills to get you to the stage where you can climb independently.

For children we run climbing courses throughout most school holidays, as well as birthday experiences

Book online

For Bowles’ courses and lessons we provide all equipment, except rock shoes.

Rock climbing private lessons

Bowles also offers private lessons. Book your own individual instructor for an hour to have lesson tailored just for you.

Book online

Climbers – closed

The rocks are currently closed for climbing during the second national lockdown. 

When we are open, there is a charge of £5 per adult or £4 for under-16s. If the office is closed and there is no climbing collector please put the money in the honesty boxes in the office entrance or by the barrier.

Season tickets are available to purchase onsite. 

Instructors bringing your own group.

We charge climbing instructors bringing groups to Bowles £5 per person, including the instructor, regardless of age. Instructors need to contact Bowles in advance to register with the office, showing proof of qualifications and insurance. We strongly advise you to check availability as preference on climbs is given to Bowles’ instructed groups.

Our charges cover car parking, staffing, and the use of Bowles’ facilities and there are toilets and handwashing opposite the rocks.  Any surplus goes towards repair and maintenance of the rocks and supporting our charitable work with young people.

We do not rent out or sell climbing gear, apart from guide books. A Bowles pamphlet guide is available for free from the office.

Getting here

Bowles has easy access by road or from Eridge train station (with a short walk). There is a map here for walking and driving directions

Setting up climbs on southern sandstone

Southern Sandstone Code of Practice 2017_Page_1

View the full code of practice at

Key points are:

  • Use a non-stretch rope and bring long slings with you
  • Make sure the karabiner hangs over the edge of the crag
  • Make sure moving ropes do not come into contact with the rock
  • Clean shoes before each climb – bring a piece of carpet to wipe your feet, to avoid rock erosion and make it easier to climb
  • Walk off when finished a climb, do not lower off or abseil
  • Keep chalk use to a minimum
  • Use of harsh boulder brushes and toothbrushes are strictly forbidden

How to set up safety

Nothing beats booking an instructor to take you through the process of how to stay safe on the rocks. We have created a page that is designed as a recap of all the information taught on our ‘setting up climbs course’. This guide has photos and videos of all the skills needed to set up the climbs.

Book a course then use this guide to help you remember all you have learnt. 

The Southern Sandstone Leaders Award

Bowles hosts the Southern Sandstone Award, a climbing instructor award that is recognised by the main outdoor providers in the South East and which covers all the main outcrops including Bowles, Harrisons, Eridge and Stone Farm.  The Southern Sandstone Award includes a training section a consolidation period and an assessment.

Visit SSLA page to find out more.

To find out more or to arrange a course, contact the office on 01892 665665 or email

%d bloggers like this: