Dunaskin Open Air Museum

Craigton Mine - Dunaskin Heritage Center - Doon Valley Railway

Useful Information

Location: On the A713 Ayr-Castle Douglas road, about 20 km south of Ayr.
(55.344256, -4.458242)
Open: APR-OCT daily 10-17. NOV-MAR by appointment.
Fee: Adults GBP 4.50, Concessions GBP 3.75, Children GBP 2.50. Groups (10+): 10% discount. School groups GBP 1.75.
Classification: Iron foundry, Subterraneaartificial coal mine (so-called Simulated Mine Experience).
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=2 h.
Address: Dunaskin Open Air Museum, Waterside, Patna, Ayrshire, KA6 7JF, Scotland, Tel: +44-1292-531-144. E-mail: contact
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.


1840 established to produce pig iron.
SEP-1848 the first iron was made.
1850 ironworks built.
1921 ironworks closed, brick making started.
1931 the Dalmellington Iron Company went into liquidation. Bairds and Dalmellington Ltd. continued the coal mining and brickmaking operations.
1947 control was assumed by the National Coal Board.
1988 brick making ended.


The Dunaskin Experience, also called Dunaskin Open Air Museum are large grounds in the Doon Valley, with numerous building from the second half of the 19th century. Numerous sights inluding an iron foundry and the "artificial" Craigton Mine tell much about the history of this place.

The Doon Valley had abundant deposits of coal, blackband ironstone, and limestone. All three are needed for the production of pig iron. The Houldsworth family, the proprietors of the Coltness Iron Works, came to the Doon Valley to exploit its resources. The Dalmellington Iron Company was founded.

The peak of the Dalmellington Iron Company was at the end of the 19th century, when eight furnaces were in blast. But soon the local supplies of blackband ironstone were running out and ore had to be imported from Spain. There was still sufficient coal, so when iron melting ended, the coals was still mined and used for brick making.

Europe's best preserved Victorian Ironworks in the heart of the beautiful Ayrshire countryside. Dunaskin has been rated 4-star by the Scottish Tourist Board. The Museum has a Visitors' Centre with Audio Visual Presentations, Interactive computer Quiz, Gift Shop, Restaurant, Simulated Mine Experience, Ironworkers Cottage, Magic Wand System Audio Tours of the site and the highest children's play tower in Britain.

The site was an Ironworks from 1860 until 1921. It then went over to brick making, which finished in 1986. Coal was also mined. A Hoffman Kiln, a beam engine house and many other buildings are on view.

Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.