Brean Down is one of the key landmarks of the Somerset coastline - jutting out into the Bristol Channel. It offers two cafes near the beach, a small visitor centre and a superb little limestone cliff all with the added bonus of being just off the M5. Currently it mainly sees the attention of locals seeking a bit of sport climbing action or the occasional one-stop sampler from passing climbers. However, its sport climbs are worthy of greater attention and with Brean’s increasing popularity it should be making it on to the tick list for weekend visitors from further afield, for some first-rate early or late season routing. There are around 30 sports routes on a clean, compact and user friendly cliff face. Most lines vary from 12 to 18 meters long making it a good place to transfer some indoor fitness outside. Brean has a surprisingly good range of routes despite it being a relatively small crag, with the difficulties starting at f6a all the way up to f8b. The main concentration of better routes are between 6c and 8a. Personally, I feel that the grades at Brean tend to be a tad on the easy side compared to other crags in the UK; but hey, this makes it a great place to break through to the next grade or is a nice place to boost your confidence before going on a trip. Being on a compact and accessible cliff, Brean is a great destination for mixed ability groups, getting some mileage in or working on a personal best. Generally the climbing tends to be just off vertical on jugs, crimps, flow stone features and the occasional pocket. Routes tend to be quite cruxy suiting those with strong fingers and good power endurance. More recently locals have been getting creative with some longer link ups, most of which have been recorded on UKclimbing.com.
To get you started my recommendations would be: Brean Dream (6a+), Coral Sea (6c), Pearl Harbour (7a), The roof of Inequity (7a+), Chulilla (7b+), Storm Warning (7c+), Black Snake Moan (8a) and Brean Topping (8b).
Standard British sport gear really: 10 quickdraws and a 60m rope will be sufficient to see you up all the routes. The routes are generously bolted so clip-sticks are not a necessity, but those wishing to push their grade may want to pack a clip-stick (available here). The crag is well covered in the Rockfax West Country Climbs guidebook. As with nearby crags in South Wales and Cheddar a stiff(ish) pair of rock boots and a good dose of finger strength will come in handy when utilising the many small edges and pockets. I recommend you take more water than you usually would, as it can get surprisingly hot on sunny days. Finally, a top tip for avoiding greasy hands after applying sun cream is to pack an extra sandwich bag (or nicking a plastic gloves from a petrol station) to put over your hands before applying the sun cream.