Grainsize, mineralogy and current-meter data from the Northern Rockall Trough are presented in order to characterise the sandy contourite that forms the sedimentary environment of the Darwin cold-water coral mounds, and to investigate the impact of this environment on the mound build-up. Large clusters of small cold-water coral mounds, 75 m across and 5 m high, have been found southwest of the Wyville Thomson Ridge, at 900-1,100 m water depth. Their present-day sedimentary environment consists of a subtly sorted sandy contourite, elongated NE-SW, roughly parallel to the contours. Critical erosional and depositional current speeds were calculated, and trends in both the quartz/feldspar and foraminifera fractions of the sands show a bi-directional fining from bedload/erosion-dominated sands in the NE to suspension/deposition-dominated sediments in the SW and towards the S (downslope). This is caused by a gradual reduction in governing current speed, linked to a reduction in slope gradient, and by the increasing distance from the current core in the downslope direction. No specific characteristics were found distinguishing the mound sediments from the surrounding sands: they fit in the overall spatial pattern. Some mound cores show hints of a fining-upward trend. Overall the mound build-up process is interpreted as a result of sediment baffling.