What a wonderful name. Arkengarthdale, the valley of Arkil’s enclosure. Who was Arkil? An 11th century Viking chieftain apparently. The garth element of the name is from the Old Scandinavian garthe for an enclosed yard or paddock. The first record of the name was in the 12th century recorded as Arkillesgarth. The dale element is from the Old English dael and became added in Elizabethan times.
Arkle Beck, the stream flowing down Arkengarthdale, is a tributary of the River Swale .The conflux is just south east of Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales. In the distance is Calver Hill which at 480m asl qualifies as a Tump for the hill baggers.
Arkengarthdale along with so many in the Yorkshire Dales have been much exploited for lead and other minerals. There are 13th century records relating to lead mining however the discovery in the 19th century at nearby Hurst of an ingot bearing the name ‘Hadrian’ suggests the the Romans actively mined lead in the valley. Lead mining came to an end during the First World War. Coal and chirt continued until the 1940s. Chirt is a hard quartz rock that was used as an abrasive in the pottery industry.
With the closure of the quarries the valley has become quiet and secluded save for a constant flow of tourists heading up the old turnpike road to the highest inn in England at Tan Hill.