Climbing at The Castle, Stoke Newington

An huge, eco-friendly climbing CASTLE in London, complete with coffee, community garden and dogs. Yes please.

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 The turrets of The Castle rises rather incongruously out of its surroundings in North London’s hip Stoke Newington, where my equally adventurous mate Flo lives. Once a Victorian pumping station, this lofty 150ft building on the banks of a little reservoir is now an amazing and labyrinthine climbing centre which I’m now a bit obsessed with after climbing there last Sunday. From the lofty heights of the main climbing room to the little bouldering walls and overhangs stuck into myriad corners and towers, it’s easy to get lost in this chalky Crystal Maze, which boasts 450 routes and 90 roped lines.  

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Climbing at The Castle, Stoke Newington

It’s not just a rad place to work on problems – there’s a real feeling of community centred around the Castle that’s refreshing to find in London. Dogs are allowed to hang out when it’s quiet here, and squashy sofas are peppered about for a nice sit down between climbs. Big noticeboards heave under the amount of cool stuff going on in the neighbourhood – a choir meets here once a week, there’s a canoe and sailing club on the reservoir next door and the Castle holds scheduled courses, kid’s climbs and talks. There’s a big emphasis on sustainability at the Castle, too, with everything from the coffee beans to the cleaning products sourced responsibly.  

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It might be pretty chilly right now but I can’t wait to come back and climb outside. The grounds are home to big boulders for summer training, as well as an acre of community garden that grows produce for the Castle’s cafe and for social initiatives in the area. Volunteers can join in and gain some green-fingered know-how growing herbs and veg in exchange for discounted climbs (and tea and cake), or even ownership of a mini plot to grow produce in. If I lived round these parts I don’t think I’d ever leave.  

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  1. sian
    January 22, 2015 / 4:39 pm

    such cute maps, looks wonderful! Will def give it a try next time I’m about.

  2. January 22, 2015 / 4:43 pm

    If you or any readers would like any hard copies let me know or stop by the stall on Broadway mkt 🙂

  3. February 5, 2015 / 1:43 am

    Love this place. I’ve got a catch-up scheduled with some girlfriends here on Friday – so much better than just going out for lunch… we’ll really deserve those cocktails afterwards! Jx

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