ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Where Can You Find Gold in the British Isles?

Updated on June 5, 2019
Asp52 profile image

This veteran writer has been on HubPages for a decade and has created over 100 original pieces.

Britain, a Land of Mineral Wealth.

The British Isles has always been a location that is desired by others for its abundance of riches. Whether it was the good quality farmland, the vast tracks of ancient woodland or the mineral wealth which lay below the surface of its green and pleasant land. We know that a succession of European rulers had attempted to secure the wealth of the British Isles over the years. This is evident in the rich multicultural society and history that we see today.

Romans, Normans, Vikings, Celts and Saxons have all attempted to claim the bounty of the lands as their own. The one prize which is always held in high regard is gold. It is a metal that is rare in the British Isles, but has this always been the case?

Gold is no longer easy to find.

Could British rivers and streams still hold some precious gold?
Could British rivers and streams still hold some precious gold? | Source

Is There a Lack of Gold in the British Isles

We know that Great Britain and the British Isles has many natural reserves of raw materials. Many of the resources which were once mined, have ceased to be exploited on a commercial scale. This is due to a number of factors, but mainly because the raw material can be mined elsewhere for a fraction of the cost and without the associated dangers present to the would be miner.

Gold is a mineral that has always held value and if Great Britain had viable gold mines then they would have continued to mine the gold, despite the risks. Trying to find locations where gold was once mined is no easy task, having looked into the etymology of British place names. I looked for places which may have had links to the mining of gold. The Norse, Roman, Saxon, Celtic and Norman words for gold were all varied as they had no common name for the precious metal. I have so far found no links to any surviving British settlement with a name highlighting past gold reserves or extensive mining activity.

This leads me to believe there was probably no intensive permanent gold mining sites in the English speaking area of the British Isles. But we know that gold was mined by the Romans in Wales and the people of Scotland had some small scale mines in the Cononish area near Tyndrum.

The most likely source of gold material in the Iron Age for the British was probably standing deposits around the country, these deposits may have been found in limited locations throughout the British Isles but they would soon be exploited. It may have been available in small amounts for the Ancient Britons to fashion into jewellery or they relied on the imports of Irish gold from across the sea. Failing that, before the Roman invasion, the indigenous Britons could have imported most of their gold from Continental Europe.

Gold in the British Isles

How much gold remains untapped in the British Isles?
How much gold remains untapped in the British Isles?

Where Could Gold Be In The British Isles?

When we look at the British Isles on a geological scale, it would seem the best area to find precious metals such as gold is in the western areas of the landmass. This is due to the type of rock that is prominent in the area. Gold will come up from the Earth's core, where it will nestle in exposed and weathered ancient lava. The rule of thumb is that, if there is quartz crystal exposed with a yellow tinge, then you have a reasonable chance of finding a trace of gold. Areas in the United Kingdom which have this kind of geological feature include Devon, Cornwall, Wales, Gloucestershire and the western coast of Scotland.

Another location where gold could have been acquired by our ancestors and perhaps by gold miners today, is by panning the rivers and streams that drain off from the higher elevations to the west.

Names for Gold in the Invader's Tongue.


Where Else Could Gold Be Found?

There is also a slim chance that there maybe gold in nearly all the coastal rivers and streams in the British Isles. This is due to the theory that gold is constantly been replenished by water eroding the rocks and river beds.

As gold is nearly thirty times heavier than water it is often found on the bedrock of river beds. Another location worthy of investigation is the area surrounding the bottom of a waterfall, although there is an obvious danger from the force of the water. The surrounding area could hold a reasonable amount of gold bearing material though.

The water cycle is responsible for the worlds sea water holding millions of tons of gold particles beneath the waves. But to extract them would be a costly process that would reduce any chance of profiting from such an endeavour.

British Isle Celtic Treasure including Silver and Gold items.
British Isle Celtic Treasure including Silver and Gold items. | Source

No Chance of a British Gold Rush?

Gold panning in the rivers and streams of Great Britain could yield as much as $43 for one gram of gold. Although like fishing there is no guarantee that you will get anything, but there is more chance if your succeeding by doing rather than dreaming. The dream of hitting the pay dirt is a desire which all of us would like to experience and with untapped reserves waiting to be discovered. Is there a chance to emulate the Gold Rushes of America, Canada and Australia?

It would be on a much smaller scale, but when it comes to gold- we are still allowed to dream.

Native British Gold

Could the ancient gold used in coins have been sourced locally?
Could the ancient gold used in coins have been sourced locally?

Update on Mining Precious Metals in Scotland.

It has been reported in the national press (19/02/2017) that the Cononish gold and silver mine at Tyndrum is to apply for a fresh license to mine fresh reserves of both gold and silver. The mine had previously been processing a stockpile of ore and now that this reserve is close to depletion, full underground extraction is expected to begin sooner rather than later.

The current plan of the owners is to extract over 200,000 ounces from the site, which is subject to approval by both Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority. The owners believe they will be successful as they have made their mine very environmentally friendly, which is hopefully going to sway the authorities opinion to look favourably over their action plan which will guarantee commercial mining at the site for the next two decades.

Your Opinion

Is British Gold Nothing But a Dream?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Andrew Stewart


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)