Last Updated on 21/07/2022
There’s a good chance you’ve probably never heard of The Coldstones Cut – I certainly hadn’t. This enormous piece of public art is intelligently masked in the surrounding countryside, while seamlessly blending with the neighbouring quarry. It’s a true hidden gem in Yorkshire that you don’t want to overlook!
In this guide, I’ll show you how to find The Coldstones Cut, where you need to park, what you need to bring, as well as showing you everything you need to do on your visit. Get ready to discover an incredible hidden Yorkshire gem!
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The Coldstones Cut
If you’re looking for unique attractions in the Yorkshire Dales that are a little off the beaten track, The Coldstones Cut is for you. It boasts being the biggest and highest piece of public artwork in Yorkshire at 1,375 feet above sea level. It was created by the artist Andrew Sabin, and first opened to the public in September 2010 after a 3 year creative and development process.
Keep reading to learn about the history of The Coldstones Cut, plus everything you need to know before you visit!
What You Need To Know
Location: The Coldstones Cut is located in the Yorkshire Dales in North Yorkshire. It is two miles outside of Pateley Bridge on Greenhow Hill.
Where to park: There is a small car park which is free to use a short distance from The Coldstones Cut. Navigate to HG3 5BJ and follow the instructions below.
Walk time: 15 minutes from the car park. You’ll want to factor in approximately 60-90 minutes for your total stay.
Terrain: Easy to identify gravel path. Reasonably easy to negotiate although somewhat steep in parts. The final section of the path has steps or a ramp climb (photo below).
What to bring: You will want sturdy shoes or walking boots to negotiate the path as it is uneven in places. The footpath is also exposed and gets very windy in parts so you will want to wrap up appropriately, even in warmer months.
When to visit: The sculpture is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I would recommend an early morning visit to avoid crowds during busy months. Access could be challenging during winter months in snowfall due to the remote location.
History Of The Coldstones Cut
Before we explore The Coldstones Cut, we need to look at the neighbouring Coldstones Quarry. Located on Greenhow Hill at 1400 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest quarries in Britain. Over the last two centuries the surrounding hills were dominated by stone quarries, but Coldstones is now the last working quarry in the area.
Despite its huge size of about 30 hectares, its location is hidden from view by the natural landscape. In 2006 a decision was made to replace the simple existing viewing platform with something designed to be more lasting. The aim was to provide a piece of public art which would appeal to the aesthetic and educational benefits of the site.
A New Lease Of Life
Artist Andrew Sabin was commissioned to produce the sculpture. The overall design process took 3 years due to the need for artistic and technical assessment, review of construction methods plus lengthy public consultation.
Construction of the sculpture commenced in March 2010 and it was officially opened to the public in September of the same year. The sculpture is designed to represent a contemporary streetscape that features a main “road”, an intersection with a roundabout, plus winding paths.
The sculpture also features a series of platforms from which you can appreciate the contrasting views. To one side, you can observe the workings of the quarry, while the other side features the striking landscapes that earn Nidderdale the title of an area of outstanding natural beauty.
How To Find The Coldstones Cut
Finding The Coldstones Cut is relatively straightforward. You’ll want to navigate to HG3 5BJ and keep an eye out for the signpost below. A word of warning, the signpost is directly opposite the car park so you don’t get a lot of notice it is coming up!
It is also worth noting that if you are travelling from the west, you will first pass the quarry on your right-hand side, before reaching the car park which is the next turning on the right. Don’t do what we did and accidentally turn up at the quarry!
‘Car park’ is possibly a more glamourous description than what you’ll encounter when you arrive. If you pull into the open space pictured below, then you’re in the right place!
The footpath from the car park is a clearly marked gravel route. Shortly after the car park, the path will split into two and you want to take the branch to the right up to The Coldstones Cut. From this point the path is exposed and can be very windy so you’ll want to dress appropriately.
You’ll need to cross a small access road to reach The Coldstones Cut. The path is clear to follow and is also signposted. Watch out for any traffic to and from the quarry when crossing the road.
As The Coldstones Cut creeps into view at the top of the hill, you’ll encounter an information board. This board provides a fascinating introduction to the history of The Coldstones Cut. It also features some striking photography of the structure from above so it is well worth stopping to take a look.
When you have crossed the first field, you will arrive at a gate leading into the second one. The gate has some important safety information on a sign, so take a moment to have a quick read before you move on.
Continue beyond the gate to follow the path through the second field. Be sure to pause and take a look back at the route you have taken. You will be rewarded with a pretty view of Yorkshire’s green rolling hills.
The final stretch to reach The Coldstones Cut is up a fairly steep incline. There is stepped access with a handrail, or the graveled path continues as a ramp. Make sure you watch your footing here are the steps are uneven in parts and the gravel is loose.
What To Do At The Coldstones Cut
A piece of public art attached to the side of a quarry might sound like an attraction for a very niche audience. But I’ll be honest, I was surprised at just how much there was to see at The Coldstones Cut. You’ll want at least 60 minutes to take a good look at everything on your visit, but you could extend this longer if you wanted to stop for a picnic too.
Here are the top things you’ll want to do on a visit to The Coldstones Cut:
Learn About Coldstones Quarry
From the viewing platform, you are treated to an incredible panorama of Coldstones Quarry, which is still in use and among the highest quarries in England. It is easy to get lost in watching the comings and goings of the busy quarry. There are also some helpful information boards that provide an introduction to the geology of the area and the history of the quarry.
Appreciate The Structure
The structure of The Coldstones Cut is an impressive artistic feat and is a mix of both old and new. The construction uses ancient stone blocks to build a contemporary streetscape. You can follow the winding paths to platforms, which allow you to appreciate the sculpture from different angles.
Admire The View
As well as taking in the incredible structure, the platforms also provide excellent views of the surrounding landscape. From this vantage point, it is clear to see why Nidderdale is considered an area of outstanding natural beauty.
See Toft Gate Lime Kiln
If you retrace your steps back towards the car park to where the path branches, you can take the other route to see Toft Gate Lime Kiln. The remains of this kiln stand as a reminder of Nidderdale’s industrial heritage.
It was built in the 1860s and was heated to produce quicklime for local agriculture through the 19th Century. But advances in industry and agriculture meant small lime works like this one closed over time in favor of bigger operations. But this small local kiln remains as a reminder of the industry in the region.
Pause For A Picnic
Due to the elevated position of The Coldstones Cut, wherever you look you are surrounded by breath-taking panoramic views of the picturesque Yorkshire Dales. There are several picnic benches dotted around that boast spectacular views. So be sure to pack your lunch, grab a seat, and have a peaceful pause in the beautiful countryside.
When To Visit
The sculpture is open and accessible 24/7, 365 days a year. But with that being said, the remote location does mean it could be difficult to access in winter months if there is snowfall.
Personally, I enjoyed our visit in September, as we avoided the summer crowds, but the vibrant summer greenery was still visible. Whatever time of year you visit, the views always promise to be breath-taking. I would advise arriving early in the day for a quieter visit and an opportunity to enjoy The Coldstones Cut uninterrupted. There is something magical about enjoying these kinds of places when you’re the only person there!
Why I Love The Coldstones Cut
One of my personal favorite things about writing this Hidden Yorkshire series is that, despite having lived in the region my whole life, it still manages to amaze me. The Coldstones Cut was another one of those destinations that truly surprised me.
This piece of public art has found a unique way of combining the natural beauty of the area and the industry of the quarry seamlessly. The structure is designed in a way that it makes the two contrasting landscapes feel like an extension of the artwork, and reminded me that, in its unique way, the quarry is just as beautiful and striking as the rest of the landscape.
Will You Visit The Coldstones Cut?
So this is my guide to visiting The Coldstones Cut. In my opinion, this surprising hidden gem is one of the region’s best-kept secrets! So be sure to include a visit on your Yorkshire bucket list when you’re next in the area!
If you want to discover more incredible Hidden Yorkshire locations, click here for the complete series.