Kettlewell smelt mill

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Historical Environment Record No:
Kettlewell with Starbotton
OS Grid Reference:
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Kettlewell smelt mill MYD4186 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Kettlewell smelt mill MYD4186 (c) YDNPA, 2023

It seems that smelting may have taken place on this site from before 1699, continuing through until the late 19th century. If this is the case, it is one of the longest-lived smelting sites in the Dales. The mill was in a poor state of repair in 1831 and work including the construction of a short flue and chimney may have been undertaken at that time. Modernisation was proposed in 1860 and this included the building of a two-storey extension in 1862 incorporating a peat store and office. In 1868 a new slag hearth and roasting hearth were built and the stone flue was extended up the hillside to a larger chimney. The mill finally stopped working in 1887 but was maintained in a good state of preservation in 1942 when it was used by the Army to test a new sort of explosive. Only footings and rubble survive from the mill itself while the flue survives as an earthwork with wall fragments running up the hillside to the rear of the mill. A partially filled in water wheel pit and associated water leat were recognised during survey work on the site in 2003.


Clough, Robert T (1962) The Lead Smelting Mills of Yorkshire Dales. Leeds: The Author

Gill, M C (1994) The Wharfedale Mines (British Mining No 49). Keighley: Northern Mines Research Society


From Kettlewell take the Leyburn road out. Passing the King's Head Pub on left follow road straight ahead to first footbridge. Take footpath signed to Hag Dyke. Turn left over next footbridge and carry straight on along the lane. After about 180 metres go through a gate on the left and then diagonally right across a small field and cross the footbridge.

Public Transport Details

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


Rough, muddy path. Footbridges and gates.