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Blackhall Rocks

OS Map Reference         NGR471390 and 476380

Landranger Sheet           93

Aspect                          East

Altitude                        Sea level

Approach time            5 minutes


Situation and Character 

The rocks are eight miles Northwest of Hartlepool. They lie between Castle Eden and Crimdon Denes.. The rock at beach level is similar to The Cove at Marsden. Here the accent is upon long pumpy traverses and short overhanging walls and roof problems all with reasonable landings. There is a lot of rock between the two areas indicated.  The most Northerly area is Double-Decker Cave whilst Cross Gill is a half-mile further South. This area is not as popular as The Cove at Marsden. 'Dead Man's Bank' refers to a small mortuary that existed at the top of the cliffs at Blackhall Rocks at some time, since it was a place where bodies tended to be washed up. This area of the coast falls within the Turning the Tide project. Turning The Tide is an ambitious and innovative programme through which the derelict wastelands will have been replaced with an area rich in wildlife which will attract local people and visitors from far a field. The programme will build on the current proposal to have the entire coastline declared a National Nature Reserve, which will be a fitting recognition of the beauty and grandeur of this previously uncelebrated part of Britain. The associated Magnesian Limestone grassland includes species such as quaking grass, cowslip, and bloody cranesbill, the later of which is confined to the coast in Durham. The wet gullies contain many locally rare plants such as butterwort, so called because of its greasy-looking leaves, grass of parnassus, yellow flag and round leaved wintergreen. A rare fern, sea spleenwort, grows in several places on the cliffs.

Magnesian Limestone


Access and Approaches

Follow the A1086 south past the junction with the B1281 until a crossroads is reached. Turn right (left leads to High Hesleden) and follow the narrow road down between houses until it passes under the railway and swings steeply left continuing through open fields to a limited parking place above the very steep “Dead Man’s Bank”.


The Climbs

Descend the bank and turn right at the bottom and follow the beach passing a small gill whose steep walls of good rock provide excellent problems graded up to 5c until a headland is reached. At the far side of this is The Double-Decker Cave, which has an archway running across it. This is the best area although occasionally the rock improves as you continue southwards for about half a mile.


Enjoying the early morning sun at Blackhall.


Huge sea cave at Blackhall.


More details in the

North East England Guide


More info about the Durham Magnesian Limestone Plateau

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