Arkengarthdale is the most northerly Yorkshire Dale and is said to be named after Arkil, an 11th century Viking chieftain. Running through its valley is the Arkle Beck, joining the Swale at Reeth. In 1656 the people of London sold Arkengarthdale to Dr John Bathurst, physician to Oliver Cromwell. The Bathurst family and their descendants did much to develop the lead mining industry in the dale, especially Dr John Bathurst’s son Charles, who gave his name and initials not only to the lead from the mines but also to The CB Inn. Further up the dale from The CB Inn is a triangular collection of cottages known as CB Yard. Now private dwellings, they were originally the administrative centre for lead mining in the dale, and would have housed the joiner’s workshop, a sawmill and smithy, as well as the offices and lodgings for the mine owner’s agent. In an adjoining field is the intriguing “Powder House”. Built in 1807, well away from the other buildings, it was used to store gunpowder and, later, dynamite used in the mines. The fuses were kept separately in one of the buildings in CB Yard. There is a restored, original ore cart sited on the edge of High Green near Langthwaite. An associated interpretation board explains the cart's use and gives a summary of the history of lead mining in the dale.

Visitors to the dale cannot fail to notice Scar House, an imposing residence which now belongs to the Duke of Norfolk. Believed to have been built by the Gilpin Brown family, benefactors of St. Mary’s church, the house passed to Lieutenant Colonel Guy Greville Wilson, DSO, CMG, who served in both the Boer and Great wars. An MP in Hull, he was said to procure “loose women” for his friend the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. The house was sold in the early 1930s to meet his gambling debts, to Sir Thomas Sopwith, renowned for the "Sopwith Camel” fighter plane. Lady Sopwith allegedly disapproved that another large house, Eskeleth Hall, was situated geographically higher than Scar House and had the hall demolished.
Arkle Town (actually a hamlet, not by any stretch of the imagination a town!) at one time had a poorhouse and was originally the home of the church. In 1812 this church was deemed to be too small and was being undermined by Arkle Beck. Only a few gravestones remain in Arkle Town to mark the old site. A new church, St Mary's, was built further up the dale,

St Mary's was built in the style of theCommissioners’ churches and paid for with £1500 from the will of George Gilpin Brown. It was consecrated by the Bishop of Chester in 1820. A new altar by Thompson of Kilburn ("The Mouse Man") paid for by public subscription was installed as a memorial after the Second World War.

Langthwaite and in particular the Red Lion Inn, is famed for being featured in the mini-series ‘A Woman of Substance’, and the TV series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’, based around the books of the Yorkshire vet, James Herriot. The little bridge in Langthwaite is shown in the credits, as is the water splash, found on the tiny road over the fell between Arkengarthdale and Low Row in Swaledale. Photographs from both series are on display at the Red Lion.

Tan Hill The highest inn in England, Tan Hill stands in superb isolation on the Pennine Way, a welcome respite for weary walkers. Its origins date back to the early 13th century. On the old drovers route, animals would have been driven this way to and from Scotland.

Tan Hill Inn was the watering hole for coal miners working the mines in the area and there used to be miners' cottages adjacent to the Inn which have long since been demolished. A bleak outlook over surrounding moor, the Inn is a reminder of how harsh conditions must have been for workers many years ago, where a pub in the middle of nowhere (which still gets snowed in during desperate winters!) was the light at the end of a long, weary walk...
Featured in an advert for Everest windows some years ago, it has also appeared in Vodafone ads more recently. The Everest ads featured a feather dropping unhindered to the floor in front of a door at Tan Hill; feel free to try your own feather!
In 2010 the heavy snows meant the New Year guests had to hole up for three days before the ploughs could fight through the seven-foot drifts to rescue them. Fortunately, they were in the ideal place to be stranded - plenty of food and drink available in the pub!