Tan Hill coal field

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Tan Hill coalfield from the air MYD20505 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Tan Hill coalfield from the air MYD20505 (c) YDNPA, 2023

The Tan Hill area supplied coal to Richmond Castle in 1384 and was still working as late as 1934. There are hundreds of grassed-over early shallow shafts but by the 19th century mining was mainly from deeper shafts, with horse power used to assist in pumping and winding operations. Trackways built across the overlying peat served the outlying shafts. During the 18th and 19th centuries much coal from this area was converted in primitive beehive ovens into coke, locally known as ‘cinders’, for use in lead smelting, particularly in slag hearths. The account book of lead mining agent Adam Barker shows that he was buying ‘cinders’ from Tan Hill for use at Old Gang as early as 1682.


White, Robert (2002) The Yorkshire Dales. A Landscape Through Time. Ilkley: Great Northern Books


Half a mile west of Keld on B6270 turn right up Stonesdale Lane signed 'West Stonesdale'. Coal field lies on right hand side of road 4 miles further on at junction with Reeth to Brough road. Pennine Way runs through area. Open shafts, keep to footpaths.

Public Transport Details

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


Viewable from roadside.