Tindale Tarn

Brampton – Tindale Tarn

Location : Brampton

Grid Ref : NY 605588


The around Tindale Tarn has seen coal and lime being mined, as well as buildings used for the purification of zinc. A railway line was purpose built to serve the industrial site, which grew around and adjacent to the tarn. Now all that remains are the slag heaps and some damaged lime kilns, and the tarn has reverted to an area of great natural beauty. It is part of the North Pennine estates managed by the RSPB.


Originally a pastoral community, the industrialisation started in the 1730’s, and grew to a maximum in 1881 with about 600 people living and working there. The land between the village of Tindale and the tarn itself contains the remains of the past mining and industrialisation.



When lead was being mined on Alston Moor the ore which contained the zinc was transported down to Tindale to have the zinc extracted. Local coal was used to fire the smelter which operated from 1794 to 1931. The purification of zinc ore is heavily polluting with sulphur dioxide gas being one of the by products. Over time additional zinc ore was imported from


  • The Isle of Man
  • Sweden
  • Ireland
  • The Rhine area of Germany.


To meet this demand additional coal was also brought onto the site to supplement the local produced coal.


By 1882 the site was owned by the Swan family, and was part of the Nenthead and Tynedale Lead and Zinc company. However concerns over the pollution combined with the termination of the lease on the land brought the company to an end. There were further attempts to rejuvenate the local industry but these did not succeed and in the 1950’s the clinker on the site was used as land fill for the rocket testing range at Spadeadam.


The tarn itself is a favourite haven for wild birds, and there is a circular walk of some 9 kms around the tarn. The local house, “tarn house” , is a strong stone building typical of properties built for defensive duties during the border reiver years. The earliest known reference is back in the 15 century to a Pele tower on the site. The house had also been used by the Earl of Carlisle as a hunting lodge.



Words and pictures courtesy of The Lodge, Stonehouse Farm, Hayton, Brampton.

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