Hodge Close

Useful Information

Location: Hodge Close Cottage, Coniston LA21 8DJ.
A591 between Keswick and Kendal, at Ambleside turn west on A593. The turn off is easy to miss, a single lane road with a National Trust sign for Oxen Hill.
(54.407708, -3.053196)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: MineSlate Mine
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Hodge Close, Hodge Close Cottage, Coniston LA21 8DJ, Tel: +44-.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.




Hodge Close is an abandoned slate quarry near Hodge Close Cottage, which is actually filled with water. The result is a deep lake surrounded by vertical cliffs. It is famous for a reflection in the lake which looks like a skull, some call it the scariest cave in Britain, which is nonsense as it is not a cave. From the car park at Hodge Close Cottage its only a minute walk to an outlook, which actually offers the skull reflection, but only if it is not windy, which seems to be rare. The eyes of the skull is a cavern with two entrances called Hodge Close Quarry cave, not very creative. If you want to visit this cavern good walking shoes or even better gum boots are required.

Lately the site became quite famous, as it was used as a filming location for the Netflix series The Witcher, series 2 episode 3 What is Lost. This is where Geralt and Vesemir discuss what happened to Eskel. There is a small stone circle in the middle where they lay Eskel’s body to rest. Actually there are several filming locations in the Lake District, another one was Rydal Cave.

The whole ridge consists of slate and there are numerous abandoned quarries all over. As the area is also crisscrossed by walking trails and is a quite popular hiking area there are trails into numerous quarries. Of course, you enter at own risk, but actually its mostly a problem of getting dirty. Notable are the huge cavern of Cathedral Cave (3 Stang End, Little Langdale, Ambleside LA22 9NT) about 1 km to the north, close to Slater's Bridge, a romantic stone bridge. Also Penny Rigg Quarry, 1.5 km southwest, and many smaller quarries inbetween. There is also Low Hallgarth, a 17th century cottage once owned by Beatrix Potter. She is famous for The Tale of Peter Rabbit and other children books with paintings of animals and became even more famous because of the 2006 movie Miss Potter with Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor She invested the money she earned with her books to buy up much of the surrounding land over the years to protect the unspoiled nature from investors. After her death she leaves 16 km² of farmland to the British people in a foundation for the benefit of nature conservation. Today the cottage is operated as a holiday accommodation by the National Trust.