Northumbrian Climbing Guide

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Hound Dene What the symbols
& colours mean
Grid Ref: NU234065   Aspect: W   Routes: 46   Max Length: 22   Average Length: 11 
Altitude: 30 mtrs   Walk in: 15 mins   Bouldering quality: poor 
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From the A1 north of Felton. take the road through Shillbottle and follow signs for Warkworth to reach the main line railway crossing at old Warkworth Station after about 5 miles. Park in the lay-by by the telephone box. Walk down the road over the bridge over the dene. Go through the gate and along the edge of a field past a farm house, then cross the field to the fence corner. Cross the fence. You are now at the top of the crag. Approximately 20m right brings you onto the top of the easy way down, 20m left brings you to the top of Vanguard (a 4 metre Diff). There is no right of way,
Editors note: this guide is the work of Malcolm Lowerson.
Hidden in a deep wooded dene with a stream running down into the Coquet river; this sandstone crag, sheltered by trees with a westerly aspect. provides a delightful and tranquil situation for climbing. A tranquillity only broken by the babbling of the brook. the chattering of the birds and the thunderous roar of the passing express trains on the main line railway only 200m. away, but completely out of sight. From the left. the crag is composed of a large square-cut buttress with a recessed face, overhung at its top and bottom ( Upstream Buttress ). Its stepped and broken right side (Jerrico Walls ) forms a corner with a high narrow buttress with flat platform top (Tower of Babel ), split in two by a deep vertical crack. On its right flank the ground slopes up beneath a short wall with tree topped ledge which makes a corner ( easy way down ) with the first of a line of tree topped walls and ribs ( Tree Walls At their right end. a big corner with an overhanging off-width crack is formed by the left wall of a large projecting buttress. Its main face ( Ripple Wall ) around to the right, is under-cut at its base and lined with horizontal weaknesses with a large recess in the right of the face. The ground slopes up steeply beneath it to a short corner not so easy way down ) and falls away below the increasing height of the final tree topped walls Downstream Walls The nature of the rock is diverse; with small pocketed holds. horizontal weaknesses. vertical cracks and slab-like walls. The walls and buttresses are generally vertical. with a few small overlaps and overhangs. The sandstone varies in quality from one buttress to another, but is generally harder in the upper strains and softer in the lower. It should be noted however. that the routes on the Upstream Buttress are not recommended unless you (a) have attended a master class in climbing on loose rock with Malcolm Lowerson, (b) have climbed at Hownsgill on at least three occasions. or (c) have the weight and life expectancy, of an anorexic fruit fly.
Longhoughton Grit Carboniferous Namurian (Upper Limestone Group)
Access issues:
No right of way
It is doubtful whether the crag has been climbed on since its initial development. The grades are as per the first ascentionist.
No recorded problems.
This crag could well have remained hidden for many years to come had not Nigel Jamieson and Andy Birtwhistle lost their way while out walking and stumbled upon it. They subsequently returned to the' crag and climbed four lines on the on the impressive Ripple Wall, but their enthusiasm was somewhat dampened by the soft nature of the rock. The development of the crag may have stopped there. had they not passed on the details of the crag to Malcolm Lowerson who, after an initial visit, decided there was potential for some worthwhile routes. In the following weeks a number of club members were persuaded to help clean and climb. and special mention should be made of Jeff Breen and Trevor Iceton whose efforts were above and beyond the call of duty. The result was a crag giving sheltered climbing in a very pleasant setting with over fourty routes from Difficult to E4. It is to be assumed that the crag is returning to its former condition by now.