Wanlockhead Museum

The Museum of Lead Mining - Lochnell Mine

Useful Information

Location: Wanlockhead.
Driving south from Glasgow the Museum is signposted off the M74 motorway at Abington. Then take the A76 truck road and B797 side road to Mennock which passes through the village of Wanlockhead. From the south take the A76 truck road and turn right onto the B7040 side road. At Leadhills turn onto the B797 to Wanlockhead.
(55.397400, -3.780790)
Open: APR-JUN daily 11-16:30.
JUL-AUG daily 10-17.
SEP-OCT daily 11-16:30.
Last mine tour 1 h earlier.
Fee: Adults GBP 5.50, Children GBP 4, Concessions GBP 4, Family (2+1) GBP 14, Family (2+2) GBP 17.50, Family (2+3) GBP 21.50.
Groups: Adults GBP 4.50, Children GBP 3.50, Concessions GBP 3.50.
Classification: MineLead Mine, MineSilver Mine, museum, miners' cottages, miners library.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: A=468 m asl.
Guided tours: L=200 m, D=40mins.
Bibliography: (1989): All About Wanlockhead, A brief history of Scotland's highest village. Wanlockhead Museum Trust, 23 pp illus. A good account of mines and miners.
John C Crawford (1997?): Wanlockhead Miners' Library, 16 pp illus. SB
(1999?): Gold Panning, Practical and useful instructions ND, [12 pp] illus. SB
J G Landless (1993): A Gazetteer to the Metal Mines of Scotland, The Wanlockhead Museum Trust, Occasional Paper No 1., 3rd ed. 90 pp. Gives name, location, NGR, minerals etc. Indexed. SB
W S Harvey (1986): The Wanlockhead Bolts, The Wanlockhead Museum Trust, Occasional Paper No 2, 18 pp, illus.
Anon (): Wanlockhead Beam Engine, The Wanlockhead Museum Trust, ND, 8 pp illus.
Rev Moir Porteous (1876): God's Treasure House in Scotland, A history of times and lands in the Southern Highlands. The Wanlockhead Museum Trust, reprinted 1985, 20 pp SB
G Downes Rose (1994): A History Of The New Glencriff Vein Wanlockhead, Dumfriesshire 1603-1993, 92 pp illus, mine sections, bibliography. A good detailed account.
HGH (1995): Walks In And Around Wanlockhead, 16 pp map. Locates manymines and mining features. SB
Address: Museum of Lead Mining, Wanlockhead Museum Trust, Wanlockhead by Biggar, Lanarkshire ML12 6UT, Tel: +44-1659-74387, Fax: +44-1659-74481. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1750 Wanlockhead became Scotlands largest lead mining area.
1875 wooden water-balance engine put to use.
1943 wooden water-balance engine shut down.



The Visitors' Centre houses displays relating to mining, minerals and smelting. Exploration of the surrounding mines has resulted in the discovery of a horizontal hydraulic engine in-situ underground. A model illustrates how the engine worked. There is a guided underground trip into the Lochnell Mine Level where mining techniques are described.

The Straighsteps Cottages have been converted into typical miner's accommodation of 1740 to 1890. Adjacent to the cottage lies a unique wooden water-balance engine which worked between 1875 and 1943. Other features to visit include the Miners Library, Smelting Mill and Wheel Pits. Surface displays illustrate methods of raising ore. Car parking is free. The Centre houses a gift shop and a 60 seater licensed tea room. Large groups can be catered for if a booking is made in advance. There is wheelchair access throughout the museum.

Text by Tony Oldham (2001). With kind permission.

A silver- and lead-mining trail starts at the museum and follows the valley of the Wanlock burn. Stops are:

Despite lead and silver mining, gold panning took place at Wanlock burn. The area is called Goldscaur Row because of this. But the gold harvest was rather small and never played an economic role.