Tan Hill, North Yorkshire

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Tan Hill
Moorland with Stone building in the distance.
Tan Hill Inn and surrounding countryside
Tan Hill is located in North Yorkshire
Tan Hill
Tan Hill
Tan Hill shown within North Yorkshire
OS grid reference NY896067
Coordinates 54°27′21″N 2°9′34″W / 54.45583°N 2.15944°W / 54.45583; -2.15944Coordinates: 54°27′21″N 2°9′34″W / 54.45583°N 2.15944°W / 54.45583; -2.15944
List of places
North Yorkshire

Tan Hill (NY896067) is a high point on the Pennine Way in the Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire, England. It lies north of Keld in the civil parish of Muker, near to the borders of County Durham and Cumbria, and close to the northern boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is in an isolated location, with the nearest town of Kirkby Stephen being an 11-mile (18 km) drive away.[1]

Coal mining[edit]

Within the Pendleian, the lower subsystem of the Carboniferous structure, exists the Upper Howgate Edge Grit, a coarse-grained sandstone. Found in the peaks of the highest fells of North Yorkshire, the shale layer containing coal is found above it. The shale under the northwest region is call the Tan Hill seam, which was worked from the 13th century until the early 1930s.[2]

The first records of coal being produced exist from 1384, when locally worked shallow shafts produced coal for Richmond Castle.[3] The poor-quality coal produced a dirty, dusty fuel but when mixed with peat, it gave a good glow, and could smoulder overnight until revived in the morning. Before the start of the Industrial Revolution, the easily accessible upper seams were mainly worked out, requiring investment in deeper shafts. By the 17th century the poor-quality coal was locally converted in simple beehive kilns into coke – known locally as "cinders" – which was used in lead and iron smelting.[3][4]

With modern means of transport having encroached on the valley, the local miners defied the 1926 General Strike. When better coal became more easily available, the local coal became less desirable and the last mine closed in 1929.[5] Locals worked the residual upper seams by hand until the mid-1930s.[3]

Tan Hill Inn[edit]

Tan Hill Inn
Tan Hill sign

The Tan Hill Inn is the highest inn in the British Isles at 1,732 feet (528 m) above sea level.[1]

The building dates to the 17th century, and during the 18th century was used as a hostelry by workers digging coal pits,[1] which is reflected in its earlier name of The Kings Pit.[6] It is unusual for its isolation, but it was previously surrounded by miners' cottages. After the closure of the last mine in 1929, and demolition of the associated cottages in the early 1930s, the pub remained open due to the patronage of local farmers and the development of the motor car.[7]

From 1974, boundary changes moved it into County Durham, but this was reviewed in 1987 after much protest, and it reverted to within the Yorkshire boundary. In 1995, the Tan Hill Inn became the first public house in the UK to be granted a licence to hold weddings and civil ceremonies, after new laws were established to allow couples to marry in places other than churches or register offices.[8]

The pub is a free house and has served a range of beers from the Black Sheep and Theakston breweries.[9] Visiting bands have included Arctic Monkeys, Mark Ronson and British Sea Power.[1]

In May 2007, Kentucky Fried Chicken threatened legal action against the Tan Hill Inn for trademark infringement over the use of the term "Family Feast" on the inn's Christmas Day menu. But on 10 May 2007 KFC confirmed that it would not be pursuing the case.[10][11]

Revellers celebrating New Year's Eve at the pub on 31 December 2009 were unable to leave the pub for three days as they were snowed-in.[12]

In July 2017 the pub was put up for sale.[13]

Media appearances[edit]

During the 1980s the pub appeared in an advert starring Ted Moult for replacement-window company Everest,[14] and it appeared in the first Vodafone advert, broadcast during the 1990s.[1] Everest returned in 2008 to film a new advert with Craig Doyle and installed new windows and solar panels.[15] The inn was visited by James May and Oz Clarke in Oz and James Drink to Britain, first broadcast in 2009.

In late 2017, the inn again featured in TV coverage, for Waitrose supermarkets' Christmas advertising campaign.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e McVeigh, Tracy (5 February 2012). "At the lonely Tan Hill Inn, the snow is falling… and business is booming". The Observer. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  2. ^ http://www.nmrs.org.uk/mines/coal/yorkshirenorth/tanhill.html
  3. ^ a b c "Tan Hill coal field". Out of Oblivion: A landscape through time. Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  4. ^ White, Robert (2002) The Yorkshire Dales. A Landscape Through Time. Ilkley: Great Northern Books
  5. ^ "Tan Hill". Adopt a Pub. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Chrystal, Paul (2017). The Place Names of Yorkshire; Cities, Towns, Villages and Dales (1 ed.). Catrine: Stenlake. p. 143. ISBN 9781840337532. 
  7. ^ "The History, Heritage and Stories Surrounding the Famous Tan Hill Inn..." Tan Hill Inn website. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Weddings & Civil Ceremonies - Swaledale & Yorkshire". Tan Hill Inn website. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  9. ^ Brown, Pete (13 June 2009). "Tan Hill Inn, Swaledale, North Yorkshire". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  10. ^ Pavia, Will (10 May 2007). "KFC climbs a big hill to fight tiny pub". The Times. London: Times Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  11. ^ "KFC licked by pub in menu fight". BBC News Online. BBC. 10 May 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  12. ^ "New Year revellers stuck pub THREE nights thanks heavy snow". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "Britain's highest pub is up for sale at £900,000". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 30 July 2017. 
  14. ^ "TV AD: Return to Tan Hill Inn and Ted Moult -Everest home improvements". www.everest.co.uk. 2009. Archived from the original on 15 July 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  15. ^ Stokes, Paul (30 May 2008). "Row over Everest pub's solar-panel makeover". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  16. ^ The Yorkshire pub with a starring role in the Waitrose Christmas ad The Yorkshire Post, 12 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017

External links[edit]