I have been keen to take a look at the cliffs at Hastings for a while now. So when my girlfriend said she wanted to visit the seaside I was quick to suggest the destination. The cliffs at Hastings consist of a mixture of soft sandstone interspersed with steep mud and clay - serious esoteric climbing. So much so that I couldn't bare to bring a climbing partner here until I had properly reconnoitred the cliffs first. There's some trad routes at the Western end of the cliffs but what interested me was the more Easterly 'mixed' routes. Phil Thornhill climbed a spate of routes here in the 1980s. I wasn't aware of anybody climbing here since. The CC Southern Sandstone guide didn't fill me with confidence with cautionary advice that 'if the clay is wet it is like paste and if it is dry it just falls apart'. Despite this, any venue with a recorded 1250m high traverse was worth a look.

First up, there is a Peregrine Falcon in the area. I am not sure where on the cliffs it is nesting but it is certainly resident given the number of times I saw it in the air. There are no official bird bans here but that is due to the total lack of climbers at the venue.

Perfect for a romantic walk along the beach
Cliffs immediately East of the yacht club car park.
Norman Crack (E1, 5a/b) is the obvious crack at left-hand end of photo
The cliffs beyond Ecclesbourne Glen looked frightening shambles of clay and crumbly sandstone. The lower clay slopes look easy to climb but offer no protection. The middle band of sandstone looks to primarily contain a worrying amount of choss bonded together by residual clay. Whether I could adequately protect myself with warthogs through this section I am unsure. A more defined band of steep jutting sandstone runs along much of the top of the cliffs and looks particularly intimidating. Whether I could abseil off from below this band if necessary I am not sure. The cliffs looked dry today so therefore maybe in a 'just fall apart' state. Maybe the routes look more friendly in optimal conditions (I'm always the optimist).

All the routes at the West end of the cliff were unrecognisable from their CC descriptions. Gully of the Godless (III) is still present. The Prow (IV) also still looks to be present although I didn't venture to directly beneath it. Overall, the Eastern end of the cliff looks more friendly as the clay slopes extend higher and the band of steep sandstone is shallower.

Cliffs East of Ecclebourne Glen
Cliffs East of Ecclebourne Glen
Gully of the Godless (III) (left)
The cliff has suffered a couple of significant slides, which has stripped the high shelf on the epic traverse of Reasons to be Fearful (IV) locally. The route may still go but is now certainly much harder as a consequence. Traversing the slide sections could be very challenging as the ground is locally very steep and looks particularly unstable.

First landslide section
Second landslide section
Bare in mind that I am drawing all these conclusions in comparison to the chalk at Dover, which looks positively safe compared to this venue. Maybe the best approach for Hastings would be to get on Gully of the Godless and see how things go. Whether I can convince a partner to climb here with me is another thing...

View from the cliff top path


  1. We were looking to climb cliffs of Dover and needed some advice. My email is davidayres222@gmail.com
    Please could you email me.


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