Mining in the British Isles began in the Neolithic period, around 6000 years ago, when flint was mined at Grimes Graves, in Norfolk, and the South Downs. A hard stone was quarried, to make polished hand axes, around Great Langdale and Scafell in Neolithic times. An increasing number of Bronze Age copper mines have now been recognised, with radiocarbon dates of between 3300 and 3020 years ago for bone tools and charcoal from a mine at Great Orme. Larger numbers of stone hammers, or mauls, have been recovered from such sites. Tin was also been worked in Cornwall and traded over long distances.

For convenience, mining in the British Isles has been divided in to the following sections:

Non Ferrous



Botallack Mine, Cornwall Florence Iron Mine, Cumbria Ackton Hall Colliery (demolished), West Yorkshire

Onshore Oil and Gas


Other Mines

Kimmeridge Oil Well, Dorset Coldstones Quarry, North Yorkshire Boulby Potash Mine, North Yorkshire

Yorkshire Smelt Mills

North Pennines Smelt Mills

Old Gang Smelt Mill Nenthead Smelt Mill

Please also see Online mapping using Google Maps & Google Earth – more mines, but less information.

We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following people for the building and content of these pages, where they are not shown elsewhere:

  • Mike Gill – the majority of data and mapping
  • Malcolm Street – the technical bits
  • Ron Callender – Wanlockhead pages
  • Simon Chapman – North Yorkshire Moor Ironstone
  • Phil Cullen – South Wales Coal
  • Ray Lawrence – South Wales Coal
  • John Pickin – South West Scotland
  • Ian Winstanley – Lancashire Coal

Offers of photographs and/or page writing are welcomed from all interested parties. Please contact us before going ahead to ensure we are not duplicating our efforts. We are looking at all types of mining and quarrying and other extractive industries of natural resources in the British Isles. It does not matter whether is a long-disused lead mine, or a currently working slate quarry.

Notes for potential contributors

  • The site is aimed at the general public who may have no knowledge of the subject
  • The pages should be simple and with a brief history
  • Ideally, a photograph should be used
  • Pages related to mining & quarrying are also welcomed, eg. geology, minerals, smelting etc.
  • Links and/or bibliographies should be provided to enable the visitor to go further