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Rocktype Sandstone (soft)
Altitude 216m a.s.l
Durham's Surprisingly Good New Sport Venue. © Franco Cookson
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.
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.
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