Hodgson How Quarry

The fossils found at Hodgson How Quarry can be seen in the local Keswick Museum, where there are some superb and unusual species of graptolites. These are common in the beds at this disused quarry. In fact, this is one of the best graptolite locations in the Lake District.


♦ From Keswick, follow the A66 towards Portinscale. Three hundred metres after the turn off to Portinscale, there is a small road on the right.
♦  A further 250m down this road, Hodgson How Quarry can be seen on the right. You can park close by.
♦ Ref: 54.60178°N, 3.17616°W


FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦♦ – The Skiddaw beds here are rich in graptolites and the museum of Keswick has a number of specimens from this locality.
CHILDREN: ♦ – This location is not recommended for families. The steep bedding plains that run at 60 degrees are too dangerous for children or families. Extreme care must be taken at all times.
ACCESS: ♦♦♦ – Hodgson Quarry is easy to find and only a short walk from where you can park. It can be seen by the roadside of the road.
TYPE: – This location is a disused quarry. There are some very good exposures, which are kept nice and clean by the constant weathering of shale due to the 60-degree bedding.


There are two common species of graptolites here. Both are brown in colour and can be also seen in the local Keswick Museum. These are Azygograptus lapworhi and the spider-like, Tetragraptus quadribrachiatus. When you first enter the quarry, there are three main visible areas. The centre of the quarry is overgrown with trees and plants, and the exposures are covered up.

To the right of the quarry is clean rock. Here, the Skiddaw Beds are extremely hard and unfossiliferous. To the left of the quarry is a section of beds that dip 60 degrees. As you get closer, you will notice shales that have either slipped or have been broken up by collectors in search of graptolites. These are found within the brown/orange layers between the blue and grey strata. There are normally rocks with graptolites lying around on the scree slopes, which can also be collected. The best zones for collecting are those situated further into the quarry.


The Ordovician rocks at Hodgson Quarry are part of the Skiddaw Group siltstones) and the mudstones here yield graptolites and at the SSE side of the quarry.

Hodgson How Quarry.jpg



The strata here run at 60 degrees or steeper in places. Take extreme care when splitting shale from the cliff face, as removing a lower layer may cause the entire upper sequence to slide down and collapse at great speed. This makes this quarry extremely dangerous.


You will need equipment to split the shale, including geological hammers, chisels and eye protection.


There are ‘NO’ restrictions to this location.

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