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Woodhead Mine Trail

Carsphairn to

Walk No: Glenkens 71

Start: Car parking is available in an old sweep of road beside the A713 near Brockloch Cottage about 2 miles north of Carsphairn. GR NX 538962.

Finish: Car parking is available in an old sweep of road beside the A713 near Brockloch Cottage about 2 miles north of Carsphairn. GR NX 538962.

Nearest Town: Carsphairn

Notes: A linear walk along quiet roads and tracks through mixed coniferous plantations leading to old lead mines. Please note that dogs are not welcome on these lands and the route is closed during mid April to mid May for lambing.

• Distance: 6 miles

• Height Gain:
• Approx. Time: 3hours

• Relevant Map:
Difficulty: Moderate

• Terrain: Very minor roads and forest tracks.
• Toilets: Next to the Heritage Centre in Carsphairn.

• Refreshments: Available in Carsphairn.
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Route Description
1. From Brockloch Cottage follow the minor road downhill, heading R into the forest and down towards Lamloch. Cross the Carsphairn Lane where the bridge built for the Galloway Power Scheme bears a plaque.

2. Just after passing Lamloch, the remains of Lamloch Church will be found on the R. This was built for the leadminers from Woodhead Mine in 1844 at a cost of £310. In the late 1840’s it had 140 communicants. As the mine declined so did the church and sadly in 1867 it closed, with the remaining members going to Dalmellington Free Church. Continue over the stile by the track gate which bears a sign Knockower, and follow the track uphill as it winds through a variety of coniferous trees to its summit at another gate. A stile leads over the wall into open land and the remains of Woodhead Mine. The mine started in 1839 when the first lead was extracted and by 1851 there were 50 houses and a population of over 300. As well as houses a school and a library were provided. By 1873 lead mining had stopped, the miners moved away and the village started to decline into its present state. The last house was vacated in 1954.

3. The first buildings you approach above the clump of trees was Office Row. The only house in this row, the mine manager’s house was amongst the last to be occupied. Further down the hill on the right, and in isolation, stands the remains of the magazine. Below that the ruins of two rows of houses are visible, which in 1851 had 130 residents.
a. Beyond the rows and clearly visible by being the only building left partially standing are the remnants of the school, built around 1843. In 1851 there were 49 children on the roll taught by two teachers; most children went to school but the census returns show that children as young as 11 and 12 were employed as leadwashers; the youngest leadminer being 12 years old.
b. Returning to the original track, downhill past the central area was a water wheel driven by water from lades that criss-cross the whole area, they can clearly be seen in some places. Here too were railway lines carrying bogeys to take the minerals to the smelter at the bottom. Much of the spoil from this area has been removed for road building.
c. The chimneys uphill to the L of the track are the only ones of their kind remaining in Scotland and were placed high on the hillside with three flues to create maximum draught for the smelting furnaces situated at the bottom. The main track crosses these flues just above the ruins of the smelting house and the washing and refining houses. Across the burn, coming from the mine area, is a row which once housed several families of smelters. This has now been converted into a barn, except the cottage on the right hand end.
d. The track which continues down towards Carsphairn was used by carts carrying the lead away. A one way system was operational, with supplies being brought in via Lamloch.

4. Return to Brockloch via outward route. Alternatively the track can be followed downhill through farmland to Garryhorn Farm, where a metalled road leads to the main A713. Turn L for Brockloch.