Many people, following indulgence over Christmas, start the New Year with a resolution to exercise more. A resolution that can soon falter. Joining a gym or health club is one option, but Hove Park offers a number of outdoor alternatives for those wanting to improve or maintain their fitness. The most unusual is the climbing boulder installed in 2005 about halfway up the west side of the park.


In 2004 the Council was allocated funding under the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) PE and Sport Programme which aimed to make a step change in the provision of physical activity, particularly for 5-16 year olds. Some of this had to be spent on an outdoor adventurous activity, and artificial climbing boulders were installed in Hove and Tarner Parks to meet this requirement, adding to the diversity of sporting facilities in the city.


According to the original specifications the approximate dimensions of the reinforced concrete Hove Park boulder are: maximum height 3 meters, circumference 40 meters, total climbing surface 180 sq m. Surrounded by safety shock absorbing rubber matting, it was designed to accommodate 20-25 users at one time. Innovation and creativity in the design of the boulder were encouraged.


There is free access for all ages, but priority will sometimes be given to school groups and holiday clubs. Although mainly used by children, it has also proved worthwhile for adult boulderers wishing to enjoy a little outdoor climbing and experimentation in a safe environment. Possible climbs, mainly beginner level routes, are listed on the UKClimbing web site (


The boulder is also interesting to look at as a sculpture using an imaginative eye. Rather than a single boulder I see a line of elephants (or possibly buffalo). What do you see?


For further details of the Friends see our website



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Copyright S Batey/Friends of Hove Park