Win 1 of 3 breaks with our social media competition

Welcome to our NEW website. Please bear with us whilst we make tweaks and ongoing changes to give you the best experience possible.

We are also thrilled to announce our adventure photo competition, inviting you to win a 2-night break for up to 4 people.

Two guests wearing harnesses and helmets are near the top of an abseil wall, holding yellow rope with their feet planted on the wall. There is an instructor in a red helmet at the top of the wall looking down at them and trees on the left side of the picture.

Abseiling

Whether you're an adventure enthusiast or someone looking to try something new, abseiling offers a unique blend of excitement and tailored learning in a safe and controlled environment.

Abseiling

 

What is abseiling?

Abseiling essentially involves descending down a vertical surface, like a rock face, a building or a wall using ropes and specialised equipment. You can go at your own pace and it involves harnessing yourself securely to a system of ropes and gradually lowering yourself down while maintaining control and balance. It’s a great way to experience the exhilaration of heights, whilst also developing a variety of skills.

 

Abseiling at Calvert Exmoor

Here at Calvert, we have an outdoor abseiling wall that is suitable to use in all weather. Instructors talk you through the equipment and instructions, giving personalised advice and guidance throughout the session. In this session, you’ll build confidence through the development of motor skills and coordination, as well as communication skills with fellow group members.

Your abseiling session

Click on each step for more information on what you can expect from an abseiling session with us…
A group of guests are in the equipment store room wearing helmets and harnesses and facing each other. In the background there are shelves with equipment on.

1: Get ready

A group of guests are in the equipment store room wearing helmets and harnesses and facing each other. In the background there are shelves with equipment on.

1: Get ready

  • You will meet your instructor at your allocated meeting point, which is given to you upon arrival
  • Your instructor will stay with you for the entirety of the session, keeping you safe and ensuring you have a great time
  • You’ll head to the equipment room with your instructor and your group, where they’ll talk to you about the equipment you’ll be using and how to use it
  • You’ll be wearing a helmet and a harness as well as any other specialist equipment you may need depending on your needs
  • Head to our ‘Abseiling Equipment’ section to see pictures of the equipment you could be using
Five adults wearing helmets and harnesses stand behind the safety line at the top of the abseil and climbing wall, looking at and listening to someone out of frame.

2: Learn how

Five adults wearing helmets and harnesses stand behind the safety line at the top of the abseil and climbing wall, looking at and listening to someone out of frame.

2: Learn how

  • Depending on your group, this usually takes place at the top of the abseil wall.
  • Your instructor will give you a safety briefing, showing you and your group the rope system you’ll be attached into and talk you through how it’ll keep you safe
  • Make sure to listen carefully, as you’ll also be shown how to keep yourself safe too!
A young boy in a blue coat and a blue helmet is looking upwards and smiling at an adult standing in front of him. He is wearing a harness and has ropes attached to him as well as the person behind him, who is smiling.

3: Have a go

A young boy in a blue coat and a blue helmet is looking upwards and smiling at an adult standing in front of him. He is wearing a harness and has ropes attached to him as well as the person behind him, who is smiling.

3: Have a go

  • One at a time (sometimes two if you’re lucky enough to have an extra instructor!), you’ll be attached into the safety system and get yourself comfortable
  • Your instructor will check how you’re feeling throughout, using various forms of communication, depending on your needs – don’t be afraid to let them know if you’re feeling uncomfortable or nervous
  • You’ll take it in turns to abseil down the wall
  • Some participants might find it more comforting to have someone abseil with them – in these situations, your instructor might suggest one of your group can partner up with you into the same rope system and be by your side as you have a go!
  • The rest of your group will be there to support you from the sidelines, watching and learning, ready for their turn
The top of the climbing wall in the foreground but the blue metal archway and black steps in the background showing the Zipwire area. There is an empty row of white chairs on the grass behind some fencing for onlookers.

4: Finish up

The top of the climbing wall in the foreground but the blue metal archway and black steps in the background showing the Zipwire area. There is an empty row of white chairs on the grass behind some fencing for onlookers.

4: Finish up

  • At the end of your abseiling activity, the instructor will take you to the zipwire area to start the next activity
  • If your group has requested not to take part in a zipwire activity, at this point, your instructor will help you return your equipment to the equipment store room before heading back to the centre

Abseiling equipment

Whether you want to get an idea of what our kit looks like, or see some of our specialised gear that helps make our sessions more accessible, have a look below…
The blue abseil chair attached into the rope system at the top of the abseil wall.

Abseil wheelchair

The blue abseil chair attached into the rope system at the top of the abseil wall.

Abseil wheelchair

  • This wheelchair is specifically designed for our abseil wall. With a head rest, optional cushioning and other supportive aids, the user will be safe both in its seat and in the hands of our highly qualified instructors
  • If you are a wheelchair user or have a mobility impairment that affects your muscular strength and stamina, our staff will likely suggest use of this chair
  • With this equipment in particular, the user is not strapped into the chair for safety reasons, however, both the chair and the user are attached to the safety rope separately
  • It’s worth noting that this chair, while it’s an amazing bit of kit, it may not suit everyone. If you have any questions or concerns about this piece of equipment, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll answer any questions we can
The blue Abseiling wheelchair with a red seat shaped cushion inside in the middle of the floor to showcase the equipment.

Kite harness (with padding)

The blue Abseiling wheelchair with a red seat shaped cushion inside in the middle of the floor to showcase the equipment.

Kite harness (with padding)

  • This harness has velcro strips which allow instructors to attach some special padding that increases the rigidity of the harness – this is the red-coloured seating
  • Without the red padding, the Kite harness adds a different level of support: the harness is easily moulded to the shape of the user
  • Individuals who need extra spinal support benefit from this gear
A close-up of yellow and green rope tied through a piece of metalwork for accessible abseiling at Calvert Exmoor.

Rope equipment

A close-up of yellow and green rope tied through a piece of metalwork for accessible abseiling at Calvert Exmoor.

Rope equipment

  • Don’t worry, it will be the instructor’s responsibility to make sure this equipment is used properly but they will tell you how to use it
  • A variety of ropes and devices, such as descenders, are used throughout these sessions to keep you safe and comfortable while descending smoothly
  • Instructors use a variety of knots and other rope techniques for various functions – try out our knot teaching corner while you’re waiting at the abseil wall!
A red, white, black and yellow harness lying on the floor ready to put on.

Harnesses

A red, white, black and yellow harness lying on the floor ready to put on.

Harnesses

  • Harnesses come in all shapes and sizes – this is one is called a “sit” harness and is commonly used for our rope activities
  • This picture shows a harness on the floor ready to put your feet into the smaller circles and then pull up and over your waist, like a pair of trousers
  • Our instructors will help you to choose the right harness for you and show you how to put it on correctly
Three shelves with three green helmets on the top shelf, three red helmets on the central shelf and four blue helmets on the bottom shelf.

Helmets

Three shelves with three green helmets on the top shelf, three red helmets on the central shelf and four blue helmets on the bottom shelf.

Helmets

  • In all of our rope-based activities, you must wear a helmet!
  • We have helmets of all sizes
A member of Calvert Exmoor staff smiles at the camera holding up a harness, which can be used for accessible climbing and abseiling, within a red wheelchair in front of the indoor climbing wall.

Pont Harness

A member of Calvert Exmoor staff smiles at the camera holding up a harness, which can be used for accessible climbing and abseiling, within a red wheelchair in front of the indoor climbing wall.

Pont Harness

  • Don’t be fooled by the red chair and the indoor climbing wall behind, this particular harness can be used in the blue abseil chair too
  • The Pont harness is similar to the Kite harness, in that the seat section is rigid, but the back support is not
  • This harness benefits users who may need extra support but still have the core stability to sit upright by themselves
A silver metal mobile hoist in front of the climbing wall with a black T section with hooks on.

Mobile hoists

A silver metal mobile hoist in front of the climbing wall with a black T section with hooks on.

Mobile hoists

  • These hoists can be used to transfer a wheelchair user from their own chair into the appropriate harness within the abseiling chair
  • Your instructor will take one of these to the top of the abseil wall ready for the session
A man wearing glasses is standing facing the camera and smiling, wearing a harness that goes around his chest, shoulders, waist and legs.

Chest harness

A man wearing glasses is standing facing the camera and smiling, wearing a harness that goes around his chest, shoulders, waist and legs.

Chest harness

  • Much like a “sit” harness is pulled on like a pair of trousers, the chest harness is put on like a jacket
  • This harness engages around the top half of the body and attaches onto the “sit” harness, which creates a full-body support system
  • This is typically used for those who are
    • larger-bodied
    • smaller-bodied
    • lack core strength
    • would simply like to feel more supported

FAQs

Yes! We leave no one out and no matter what, we do everything we can to make sure you can enjoy the experience of abseiling in a way that suits you and keeps you safe.

At Calvert Exmoor, it’s what you CAN do that counts. Our instructors use the term ‘challenge by choice’, which ensures that while you’re taking part and given challenges along the way, you ultimately always have the agency and control over your own limitations. Our staff are there to keep you safe but also build your confidence, even if this means accomplishing a simpler version of the activity.

Our abseiling activity takes place on our outdoor climbing and abseiling wall.

This is onsite and only a 2 minute walk away from your accommodation.

Every instructor has:

  • extensive in-house training including observation hours logged prior to running a session independently
  • either a Climbing Wall Instructor (CWI) qualification including an abseil module

OR

  • a Rock Climbing Instructor (RCI) qualification by British Mountaineering Council