Dumfries and Galloway

A location and hill-farm in N Dumfries and Galloway, Woodhead lies 2 miles (3 km) east of Loch Doon and 2½ miles (4 km) northwest of Carsphairn. Woodhead Lead Mines once lay 1¼ miles (2 km) to the south. These were developed by the local landowner, Colonel MacAdam Cathcart, from 1838 and grew to include a village with five little rows of miners' cottages, a school and library, as well as a crushing, washing and dressing plant, and a smelter to extract the lead, with the bonus of some copper and silver. The ore was mined by up to eight shafts descending at different levels on the hillside into two near-parallel metalliferous veins; the Woodhead Vein and the Garryhorn Vein. These veins had been injected into the surrounding Silurian greywacke rocks around 400 million years ago in association with the granite intrusion represented by Cairnsmore of Carsphairn. Smelting was possible on site due to the availability of coal from the nearby Ayrshire coalfield.

In 1851, the village had a population of 301, with many of the residents having come with mining experience from Leadhills and Wanlockhead, located just 25 miles (40 km) to the east northeast. The mines reopened briefly during the latter stages of the First World War. Although the spoils heaps were removed in the mid 20th C., much evidence of the original structures remain. These include several open shafts, a stone base for the water-wheel used to power the crushing mill, a reservoir and parts of the lades which supplied the water-wheel and the washing plant, and the smelter flue and chimney, which still stands to 15m (50 feet) in height. Much of the remains are protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better