Area of origin

N England

Area of use

Scotland, NE England, NW England, Wales

A mountain pool or lake in a cirque (bowl shaped depression excavated by a glacier) although in places it is used to describe any upland lake. [Dr.J.T.]

Almost wholly confined to Cumbria in England. Tarn Wadling is clearly mentioned in the Arthurian Legends and in the 19C was thought to be imaginary but later research show it existed in old maps and was drained in the 18C. From time to time it reappears in very wet weather. [C.F.]


Derived from Norse “tjörn” = pond. [Dr.J.T.]

Example locations

  • Malham Tarn
    Settle, North Yorkshire
  • Talkin Tarn
    Brampton, Cumbira

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Entry contributors:

Dr. Julian Thompson, Chester Forster