Climbs 46
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 110m a.s.l
Faces SE

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My Little Pony at Houghton's © vertigo

Crag features

The magnesium limestone rock that forms the cliff face at the north side of the cemetery had been quarried there for centuries

The Houghton rector, the Reverend John Grey, whose uncle was Earl Grey (PM from 1830 to 1834), campaigned for part of the old quarry to be consecrated as a new graveyard. The cemetery was later consecrated in September 1854. In total over 7,000 people are buried in the graveyard.

Descaribed as "Sunderland's premier sports crag" (quoting OTE).

Useful pics and details here

Free (old) mini-guide available from Climbonline here

Approach notes

Access to the crag involves entering the once fenced in burial area of William Standish, 18th in a direct descent from King Edward III. At present the land is owned by the Parochial Church Council of St Michael's Church, with the land maintained by Sunderland City Council from December 2004. 

From A690 Durham to Sunderland road, exit onto the roundabout and take the B1404 towards Seaham. Immediately on leaving the roundabout take the first turn on the left into Elizabeth Street. Follow this uphill to the junction and go straight ahead. Then take the second street on the left and at the end, turn right into Sunderland Street (54.847144, -1.466035). Drive up the hill to the end of the street and park on the left adjacent to Hillside farm. The public footpath leads through ther old cemetery gate. Follow this and the walls are soon visible.

The area below the crag is pleasent lawned although the paths to the buttresses can be nettle bound.

Climbers should remember that this is a burial ground and you are asked to be keep a low profile.

Climbers are reminded that they use the crag and the in situ protection at their own risk and may be asked to leave.

No Access Issues

BMC have been in touch with the site manager about climbing at this site. Access is allowed with the understanding that it does not create any problems and that climbers respect the tranquility of this historical graveyard - people may be visiting deceased relatives. No litter, noise, or groups.

The older belays are gradually getting new stainless steel rings to lower off.
RD - 18/Jun/22
correct link
RD - 18/Jun/22
More info on surrounding the area can be found here:
Steve Crowe - 29/Jun/11
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