As of 2020, NorthumberlandBouldering.co.uk is now available under TopBouldering.com.
Northumberland is a beautiful county, and has the perfect mix of wildness and accessibility. There are plenty of places to go bouldering in Northumberland and we have gathered a few of the best locations for you. We will provide some information and also useful links for you to start your adventure.
Most Famous Places for Bouldering in Northumberland
Northumberland is unique in that it is home to the least populated and least visited of the National Parks in the UK. Even so, the northeast is far from inaccessible and has some quality areas to boulder in. Please be aware, that most of the bouldering is on sandstone so be prepared to leave if it is wet!
Bowden Doors is a popular bouldering area located just north of the B6349 Belford Wooler Road. It is often one of the busiest bouldering areas in the region.
- Rock Type: Bowden Doors is known for its sandstone. Be aware that some erosion has taken place, but the rock quality is generally very good.
- Boulder Problems: Bowden Doors offers a wide range of boulder problems suitable for climbers of various levels. The problems vary in difficulty, from easier warm-up climbs to more technical and powerful routes. The grades range from beginner-friendly problems V0 (Font 3) to more advanced routes up to V9 (Font 7C).
- Style: The bouldering at Bowden Doors features technical climbs, delicate slabs, and powerful overhangs. Expect a mix of crimps, slopers, small edges, and sandstone features that require precise footwork and balance.
- Access: Access to Bowden Doors is generally fine. Be aware that only the section north of the wall is CRoW (Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000) land, and to the south is farmland, so be aware.
Back Bowden Doors
Back Bowden Doors, as the name would suggest is basically the same are as Bowden Doors, just a little more north and facing westwards.
- Rock Type: Sandstone.
- Boulder Problems: Some great boulders that are very hard, whilst also a few easier climbs too.
- Style: Expect a mix, and great for the afternoon.
- Access: Not all of the land is public, so be aware – also don’t block the gates when parking.
Located about 2 miles from Lowick, the area is based in a managed woodland, so you have to be careful to stick to marked tracks.
- Rock Type: Sandstone.
- Boulder Problems: Moderate to hard, longer traverses and overhangs that can stay dry when it is raining.
- Style: Similar to others in the area,
- Access: Currently fine. Don’t block access, don’t makes fires.
Other Northumberland Bouldering Crags
We will not over every area here, but you can see some of the other crags in Northumberland in our list below.
- Old Stell Crag (Simonside)
- Oxen Wood Boulders
- Ravens Crag
- Rothley Crag
- Shaftoe Crags
Handy Northumberland Bouldering Websites and Resources
There are quite a few resources available. We have gathered our favourites below.
- The Quiet County: Northumberland Bouldering and Climbing Supplements – Facebook Group
The Northumberland Mountaineering Club have provided invaluable resources. We have collected some of their topos below.
Unsurprisingly, there have been a few books and guides to bouldering in Northumberland, we have put the links below.
- Northumberland Bouldering Guide (2008) by John Earl and Steve Crowe
- Northern England: Rock Climbing Guide (Rockfax Climbing Guide) (Rockfax Climbing Guide Series) (2007) by Chris Craggs – not much, but some info about Northumberland bouldering.
Ethical Considerations when Bouldering in Northumberland
Most of the boulders in Northumberland are sandstone. Sandstone is prone to erosion. Please be aware of this fact when bouldering. Do not climb on sandstone when it is damp or wet, the rock is easily damage and erosion can occur. We have a few easy rules listed below.
- Do not climb on sandstone when wet
- Only attempt the route a reasonable number of times
- Use the brush and chalk sparingly
- Tread lightly, use good footwork
- Don’t train outside, it’s what the plastic is for
- Take your stuff with you, leave not trace
- Close gates! Respect the land!
These are some easy points to follow and if you do so everyone will be happy. Yes, there will be selfish people but don’t be one. Bouldering is a great and is fun, but we have to respect nature as it will not last forever if we don’t.
Am I Set for Bouldering in Northumberland?
We’d hope so! This guide is a brief overview, there is plenty more to discover. Even so, all you need are some bouldering shoes, a crash pad and you are basically ready to go. Be safe, be ethical, and have fun!