Ancient Monuments

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Waterside, miners' villages & mineral railways north of

A Scheduled Monument in Doon Valley, East Ayrshire

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Latitude: 55.3604 / 55°21'37"N

Longitude: -4.4613 / 4°27'40"W

OS Eastings: 244077

OS Northings: 610132

OS Grid: NS440101

Mapcode National: GBR 4H.4C35

Mapcode Global: WH3RH.FJSJ

Entry Name: Waterside, miners' villages & mineral railways N of

Scheduled Date: 15 November 1999

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7863

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Industrial: rail

Location: Dalmellington

County: East Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Doon Valley

Traditional County: Ayrshire


The monument comprises the remains of the former mining villages of Benwhat, Corbie Craigs and Lethanhill, together with a network of tracks marking the site of former mineral railways, bings marking the site of former ironstone pits and adjacent shafts, all associated with the Dalmellington Ironworks.

The monument is made up of the following principal components:

1.The former mining village of Benwhat, built by the Dalmellington Iron Company to accommodate the families of miners who worked the nearby Corbie Craig ironstone pits. The first row of houses to be created, the Laigh Row, was constructed of Dunaskin brick in 1860 with a further four rows, each of 10 houses, being built over the period 1870-1874: one of these, Stone Row, is built from stone quarried at the Dunaskin Quarry.

The Miners' Institute, store and school (the latter being replaced by a new building in 1926) formed an integral part of the village as did the football field which lay at its W end. The village was evacuated in 1951 following the National Coal Board's acquisition of all mining concerns in 1946. Long, grass-covered mounds now mark the positions of each row with the foundation and outlines of the walls surviving to various degrees. The most complete remains are those of the new school to the W end of the village adjacent to Corbie Craigs Bing No.4.

2. Corbie Craigs ('The Corbies') was constructed in 1850s to house those men who worked on the adjacent railway incline. Although termed a village, 'The Corbies' consisted of a single row of 10 miners' houses, each with a single all-purpose room, a scullery and an outhouse built from brick.

Following the re-siting of the railway in 1866, the village accommodated pit workers and remained the smallest and most isolated of the Dalmellington Iron Company's communities until its abandonment in the 1940s. The ruins of the miners' houses, although now roofless, stand in relatively good condition and provide the best example of the type of housing provided by the Company.

3. Lethanhill formed the largest of the villages. Beginning as a small settlement of 10 houses built adjacent to the top of the railway incline in 1851, it grew to accommodate the miners and their families who worked the Burnfoot pits and, from 1860 onwards, the Downiestone and Drumgrange range of pits.

The community was rehoused in Patna in 1947-1954, after which time the dwellings were partially demolished in advance of tree planting. Today, the limits of the forestry plantation which covers the site accurately mark the extent of the village with the remains of the Mission Hall and School visible in the vicinity of the war memorial to the W of the plantation.

4. Corbie Craig tips nos 2,4,5,6,7 (with adjacent shaft) and 8 (with adjacent shaft). These tips lie adjacent to the former pit heads and are composed of refuse from production of char, whereby alternating layers of coal and ironstone were spread over a large area and slowy burned to remove impurities.

5 a) The line of the mineral railway and incline running from the E end of Waterside to Lethanhill, built in 1849 and modified to form a 1 in 6 incline in 1866, now marked by a grassy track. b) The line of the mineral railway running from Lethanhill to Benwhat with a branch line connecting the latter to Corbie Craigs, constructed in 1866 and now marked by a grassy track. c) The line of the mineral railway and incline running from the W end of Waterside to Corbie Craigs, constructed in 1849, abandoned in 1866 and now marked by a grassy track.

The area to be scheduled is very irregular on plan, to include all of the elements described above. The maximum distance between extremities is over 1750m N-S and over 4000m E-W, but only a small proportion of the land within these extremities is to be scheduled.

The width of the scheduled area along the grass-covered tracks marking the lines of the former mineral railways is a uniform 10m, with expansions at the locations of the villages and tips. A small detached area is to be scheduled at Corbie Craigs village. The areas to be scheduled are all marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as the remains of part of the infrastructure of the Dalmellington Ironworks Company which has the potential to add to our knowledge of the production of pig and haematite iron at Waterside, and to our understanding of the social, economic and industrial history of East Ayrshire in the period 1840 ' 1950.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland




Farrel, R. Benwaht and Corbie Craigs, A Brief History.

Smith, D. L. (1967) The Dalmellington Iron Company: Its engines and its men.

McQuillan, T. C. (1988) The Hill: Its people and its pits. Cumnock and Dooon Valley District Council.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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