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.


I have ben informed that some climbers were asked to leave recently by the owner, however when I went over today for some top roping there was a steady stream of tourist which brings into question where public access is allowed or not. If you pick a busy time such as a weekend I don't think there would be any problem climbing.
RD - 16/May/20
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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