Hodge Close Quarry

Hodge Close Quarry is a large disused quarry in the Conniston Fells, a few miles north if the village of Conniston which was mined from the 19th century up to the 1960s. There are in fact two quarries – Hodge Close and Parrock Quarry. The larger Hodge Close Quarry has near vertical walls dropping 30m into a lake that fills the quarry floors – in fact only half the quarry depth can be seen as it descends a further 30m below the water level.  Hodge Close is a popular location for divers and abseilers, however it can be dangerous and numerous divers have lost their lives after becoming lost in the underwater tunnels. Whilst It is possible to descend into Hodge Close via a scree slope on the south side of the quarry, any visitors should be aware of the dangers – during our visit there was a massive rock fall, which is an ever present danger for anyone entering the quarry.

The neighbouring Parrock Quarry has less steep sides, and is therefore safer to enter via a path that can be reached by walking around to the north side of the quarry. This path leads to a double arch way that links the two quarries together. Due to its local micro climate, the floor of Parrock Quarry is filled with large ferns and mossy trees, so it is well worth exploring.

There are numerus birch tress around the quarry, which provide good autumn colour – we visited in summer, but a re-visit in autumn would certainly be worthwhile.

Location and Parking

Post Code: LA21 8DJ

What 3 Words – fells.national.flopping

Hodge Close Quarry is reached by a single track road from the A593, about 1.8 miles north of Conniston. There are two turnings close together – the southern one leading to Tilberthwaite, and the northern turning signposted Hodge Close Only, leading to Hodge Close Quarry.  The parking area is 1.6 miles down this road – do not go beyond the parking area, as there is no parking allowed beyond this point.  The quarry is immediately opposite the car park, but is fenced off. It is fairly easy to dodge under the fence, but by walking a short distance north, there is a gap in the fence giving access to the edge of the quarry. As the fence is easily bypassed, it is probably only intended to deter children from running directly from the car park towards the quarry.

There is a path around the quarry edge, and at the north end of the quarry a further path can be taken to Hodge Close Cottages, then by following the track towards High Oxen Fell, the path descending into Parrock Quarry can be picked up.

Hodge Close Quarry

From the car park side of the quarry, it is difficult to get a good view of the while quarry, so it is best to concentrate on details, such as the colour and texture in the quarry walls, or a small tree growing in the archway that leads to Parrock Fell. There is a nice contrast between the living tree and the sterile rocks from which it springs.

Hodge Close Tree

Hodge Close Quarry Walls

To get a clear view of the quarry, either walk around to the south or north end of the quarry. From the south end, there is a glimpse of the fells behind the quarry, but the quarry view is more open from the north end. In the second picture below, the light area to the left of the image is the site of a large rockfall that occurred just a few minutes before this picture was taken.

Hodge Close Quarry From The South 

Hodge Close Quarry From The North

Parrock Quarry

Following the path to the north of Hodge Close Quarry leads to the adjacent Parrock Quarry, which can be entered via a path at the north end of the quarry. Descent into the quarry is at the visitor’s own risk, however it is worth visiting as the quarry floor is like a mini Jurassic Park, filled with ferns and mossy trees.

Parrock Quarry

Parrock Quarry Ferns

The Great Arch

The path in Parrock Quarry leads to the Great Arch, a double opening which links Parrock Quarry with Hodge Close Quarry.  The remains of an old crane can be seen in one of the archways, whilst the small tree seen earlier fills the other arch.  The numerous rocks lying around are a reminder of the dangers of rock-falls in old quarries.

The Great Arch

Through The Great Arch

Climbing through the arch gives a good water level view of the quarry.

Hodge Close Quarry

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