Portland is one of the most popular centres for sports climbing in southern England.
Its coastal sea cliffs offer over 900 routes to climbers, against a backdrop of a spectacular coastline. Though the Portland cliffs are steep, they do not have the blocky, overhanging structure exhibited at Swanage. The faces are smoother and more pocketed. Some of the more demanding climbing sites are complemented by smaller cliffs that attract the novices.
There are bolted climbs in all grades from easy grade F3 to F8A. With climbs on both the east and west coast of the island, it is possible, even in winter, to climb in the sun throughout the day. The vast majority of climbs are situated well above sea level and are therefore not affected by tides.
These geologically important cliffs also provide an important habitat for a diverse variety of plants and animals, some of which are nationally or globally protected. Variable restrictions for nesting birds apply some crags between March 1st and July 31st.