Downholme lime kiln

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Downholme lime kiln MYD19601 © David Johnson, 2004

Downholme lime kiln MYD19601 © David Johnson, 2004

Downholme Quarry is one of three disused limestone quarries in this part of Swaledale, two of which produced lime as well as crushed stone. This quarry is not immense but is nonetheless impressive, as are the remains of the two kilns. One of the kilns is completely ruined and largely robbed out but its twin stands in almost perfect condition.

It is a very broad kiln, squat, and rounded rather than the more common squared form. The kiln was made up of courses of fine limestone, giving it a very neat appearance. The top of the two kilns is on the level of the quarry floor so it was a relatively easy task to transfer stone from the breakers in the quarry to the limeburners at the kiln.

Having two kilns side by side meant the quarry operators always had lime at hand. While one kiln was cooling down and being emptied, the other was burning away. By the time this one was ready to be discharged, the first one had already been filled up. In the mid-19th century, when this operation was at its height, there was a ready market for agricultural and building lime.


The Lime Kiln can be seen from the A6108 just north of the turn off to Downholme. There is a closer view from about 100m along a footpath that leaves Downholme village just by the entrance to the Bolton Arms car park. To access the lime kiln take the left fork by the Bolton Arms car park and after about 30m there is a field gate with a sign "Warning Quarry". Follow the track for about 100m going through another gate. The grassy track leads to the top of the kiln that is down on the left. To get to the base of the kiln keep to the left down the wall side after the second gate.

Public Transport Details

Nearest town/village: Downholme. Call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 to plan your journey. After the welcome message key in 885 for North Yorkshire information.


Viewable from A6108 but note few stopping places. The signed public footpath for the closer view is very wet and trampled by cattle. This view is partly obstructed by the field wall. The access though the quarry is on a good grassy track but it is rough getting down to the base of the kiln. It is not a right of way but a permissive route.