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Hodge Close Quarry,

Access is difficult, but this site near Coniston, lake district has gin clear water and is an excellent dive..


Introduction

I get the feeling that this is one of the old favourite dive sites which is not used much these days. It lies in the southern part of the Lake District about 2 miles from Coniston.

There are two parts to this quarry, the main part is an old green slate quarry which has a maximum depth of about 32m with visibility up to about 10m. there is a tunnel entrance at about 24m which leads to three chambers and 2 interconnecting tunnels, to enter these is serious cave diving and you need to well equipped and trained. There have been a number of fatalities here over the years.

The second part is a small cavern, about 7m deep with a few meters of air space above the water. I love this area as you get a real feel of cave diving without the danger.

Access to this is either via a land tunnel or by the "metal jetty". This is quite safe and although the access looks a little scary and there is no natural light it was very enjoyable. It would only take about 5 minutes to explore the whole cavern.  

wpe1.jpg (12797 bytes)
Access to Hodge is through this tunnel...
Then down the scaffolding

Access to the quarry is not easy and involves a walk along a 120m tunnel with full kit. The entrance to the tunnel has about 1m of water in it and you have to bend over a bit, so watch your head and your pillar valve. It is some walk from the main car park to the tunnel, or you can pay £5.00 per car to the cottage owner and he will let you park close to the tunnel entrance. From the other end of the tunnel you descend a scaffolding type ladder down to the quarry (see pictures). Despite this it is still well worth the trouble. 

Access to Hodge is through this tunnel...
Then down the scaffolding

Services

Not a great deal to offer

  • Parking
  • The local cottages were offering teas etc.
  • Lovely scenery

How to get there

Take the A593 (Ambleside to Coniston) and just under two miles north of Coniston is a narrow road on the right, sign posted to Hodge Close. Follow this for about two miles until it opens out into a huge car park. Hodge Close quarry is on your right however the tunnel entrance is on your left, down a steep slope.  It runs the length of the car park).

Carry on through the car park  and the road starts to go down hill, A few hundred yards further and you will see some cottages. From these cottages you will see a fence with a gate on your left leading to a rough track which bends round to the left and takes you to the tunnel entrance. You will have to fork out your £5 (per car) before the cottage owner will open up the gate for you.  

Safety

There have been a number of fatalities here over the years so extreme caution is required if you enter the cave system at 24m. There used to be a 14m entrance to the first cavern but this has been covered by a land slip.

It has been classified as an altitude dive although my Aladdin Pro didn't pick it up.

Land slips do occur and should there be an incident of any kind, remember getting access to the quarry will take time and assisting a casualty out of the quarry will too.

 

 

 

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