Popular North York Moors pub The Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge damaged in serious fire overnight

A salvage operation is underway after a serious fire broke out at a North York Moors pub last night.

The Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge is often cut off by snow

The fire started in the cellar of 16th-century freehouse The Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge, near Kirkbymoorside.

Fire crews from Danby, Kirkbymoorside, Helmsley, Pickering, Malton and Stokesley all attended after the blaze was reported just after 2am this morning.

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North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service did not release details of the extent of the damage but confirmed that a salvage operation is now underway and an investigation into the cause has begun.

The pub's owners said on the business's Facebook page: "Hi everyone, you may have seen on the news that we had a fire at The Lion Inn last night. Thanks for all the kind messages, glad to say everyone is fine and the pub wasn't damaged. The fire occurred in a storage cellar which was only storing the old furniture we had removed from the bar and dining rooms to allow social distancing; it did not reach the pub. Thanks to all the amazing fire crews who attended last night. We look forward to welcoming you back on May 17."

The pub stands at the highest point of the North York Moors National Park and has been owned by the Crossland family since 1980.

It is known for its remote location - is is often blocked by snow in winter - and real ale selection. The pub was due to re-open after lockdown in May and staff had started taking bookings.

It is the third North Yorkshire country pub to suffer fire damage in the past year.

Last September, The Cresswell Arms in Appleton-le-Street, near Malton, had its roof destroyed in a blaze.

And in July, The Old Swan Inn in Gargrave, near Skipton, was extensively damaged in a fire which left the landlord critically injured.