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UKClimbing Team

Climbs 88
Rocktype Sandstone (soft)
Altitude 216m a.s.l
Faces SW

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Durham's Surprisingly Good New Sport Venue. © Franco Cookson

Crag features

A large sandstone quarry 25 metres in places. The rock is soft and the top section consists of layers of shale and poor sandstone. Previously a trad venue but now has 40+ sport routes.

The Main Wall tend to remain dry even after a lot of rain  and catches plenty of sun. The rock is fairly tough at the bottom and top but quite sandy in the middle band.

Most of Graffit Buttress is also sheltered and dries quickly. The rock is more solid.

The Pillars being overhanging are climable in light rain. However the cave and the pillars do tend to suffer from seepage through the roof cracks and run off after heavy rain. This can take a day or two to dry back.These provide the hardest and most durable sandstone.

Use of a helmet is recommended.


Approach notes


Take the A692 from Consett towards Castleside. Halfway down the hill take the left turn signposted for the old railway lines which are now foot and clycle paths - "Waskerley Way" and "Lanchester Valley". Park at Lydgetts Junction car park adjactent to the old railway lines and just before the road goes under the old railway line. 


Leave the parking up the back onto the pathways and take the railway line going away from Consett sign posted Stanhope, Allenhead and Whitehaven. Pass through a cutting and reach Hownsgill viaduct. Just before the bridge take a footpath to the right then go left and under the bridge and back up to gain the original footpath. Follow this down through the tree until it levels out and leads to a more open section where the quarry is below you. 


Approach  straight down the bank or for a slightly easier descent continue along the top and descend down a path that takes you through the caverns.


The walk in takes around 10 minutes.


Decided to head over yesterday as the weather was good. There's a new fence to the right of the viaduct with a gap where the footpath heads down. On the way in we past by a jeep trying to negotiate the hillside which has made quite a mess. Once in the quarry we met First two middle aged women and the a middle aged couple from Consett, all just walking through the caves. Seems very open to the public! I finished off by picking a bag of rubbish to take out.
RD - 09/Mar/20
There's a topo available for free at
RD - 28/Oct/19
The "no entry" sign and fence at the top is long gone since the new bridge works (not that it stopped anyone, as there are plenty of ways in and out of this quarry). Access is easy from the top or bottom of the viaduct.
martinph78 - 15/Aug/13
Had look at thrising wall section today. After clearing some brambles it's not that overgrown, but certainly think that the holds aren't what they used to be. Example Aniseed Trail HS 4b seems to have some very rounded or flakey bits where holds once were! Sorry, but there are two less now than yesterday. Enjoying working the venue but I do think that the easier grades on the initial corner and rising wall are now harder than they once were for many of the climbs. Looking at run-off/weathering etc many ledges are smooth and rounded where I imagine they were once more angular (and useable) and there are some very flaky bits that may once have been holds?
martinph78 - 01/Nov/12
Worth a look if you are local, but definiately not a place to lead climb. Loose at the top mean "topping out" isn't really an option. Holds break of easily so make sure your belayer wears a helmet!
martinph78 - 23/Oct/12
I met the guy who owns the land when I worked in a local pub and he said he really didn't want people climbing there due to access and insurance reasons.
melmyo - 15/Apr/09
Pictures and guide at
mad matt - 16/Apr/05
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Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
  Cold Nose Corner
2 Pup VD 2
3 Fang MVS 4c 4
4 Doggy Bag 6b+ * 2
5 Choker MVS 4c 1
6 Cold Nose Corner 5b 4
7 Dog End 6b * 3
8 Distemper Wall 6a+ 5
9 Foxy 5c 6
10 The Arete 5b 3
  Rising Wall Section
12 Bloodhound HS 4b 5
13 Aniseed Trail HS 4b 1
14 Dogs Dinner HVS 5b 1
15 Paws HS 4b 1
16 Watch Dog E1 5b 2
17 Lapdog VD 1
  The Main Wall
19 The Snarl
E1 5b 2
20 The Growl
E1 5b 2
21 Windfall 7a+ * 1
22 The Eyrie 6b 2
23 The Whimper
E1 5b 2
24 Mad Dog
E1 5b 3
25 Plague Dogs 7a+ *** 3
26 The Bark 7a ** 5
27 The Bite 7a ** 5
28 Nebula
6b ** 3
29 The Howl 6c ** 2
30 Hound Trial 6b * 3
31 The Whine 6c *** 3
32 The Bitch 6c *** 4
33 The Bitch Direct 6b ** 4
34 The Wolf 6a+ ** 6
Climb name Grade
35 Wolfsbane 6b+ ** 3
36 Hardpad 6b ** 10
37 Vixen 6b * 4
  Sandwich Corner
39 The Sad Demise of the Hedgehog 6c * 1
40 Sandwich Cake Wall
E2 5c  
41 Teacake Corner
HS 4b 1
42 Teabreak Wall
HS 4b 1
43 High Tea
HVS 5b 1
44 Cake Walk
VD 1
  Graffiti Buttress
46 Undercoat HS 4b 1
47 Topcoat MVS 4c 1
48 Watercolour Corner
HS 4b 2
49 Daubers' Delight
VS 4c 3
50 Nom De Plume
VS 4c 3
51 Initial Wall
HVS 5a 3
52 Doodler
HVS 5a 3
53 Heavy Make-up
E2 5c 1
54 Brushline E1 5b  
55 Heavy Breath 6a+ * 5
56 Heavy Breathing 6a+ * 1
  The First Pillar
58 Obscene Phone Call 6c ** 2
59 Corinthian 6a *** 3
60 Prometheus 6a ** 1
61 Prometheus RH 6a+ * 1
62 Punishment of Prometheus 6c+ * 1
  The Second Pillar
64 Hercules 6a * 1
65 Stasis 6b+ ** 2
66 Lipstick Traces 5c *** 5
67 Shackles 6a * 1
68 Samson VS 4c  
Climb name Grade
69 Delilah 6c 1
70 Rising Dawn E4 6b 1
  The Third Pillar
72 Cave Dwellers 7b ** 1
73 Cave Campers 7a+ * 1
74 Crimp Wall 7a+ * 2
75 Edge of Darkness 6b+ * 1
76 Take the Needle 7a ** 3
77 Drug Lord 6c *** 5
78 Wildman 6b * 1
79 Rib & Roof 7a * 3
80 Franco's Hownsgill Tour 7a *  
82 Underground Project ** 3
  The Fourth Pillar
84 Still Life HVS 5b  
85 Fresco VS 5a  
86 Neo-Classic S 4a 1
  Quarry Basin - Pond Wall
88 Horsefly
S 4a 1
89 Mosguito
MVS 4c 1
90 Dragonfly
HVS 5b 1
91 Toad
HVS 5b 1
92 Newt
S 4a 1
93 Tadpole
HS 4b 1
  Quarry Basin - Rake Wall
95 Liverwork Wall
HS 4b 1
96 Duckweed Wall
MVS 4c 1
97 Kingcup
VD 1
98 Crowfoot Crack
S 4a 1
99 Whirligig Wall
VS 5a 1
101 Dachshund V2  

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