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Education group visits to the only known Roman goldmine in the UK

Tour Guide Underground at Dolaucothi
Tour Guide Underground at Dolaucothi | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Dolaucothi Goldmines offers a unique outdoor learning experience for students of all ages.

Did you know?

A visit to Dolaucothi is fun and informal, but offers a rich context for learning.

Mining remains, and other archaeological features, help us to chronicle the industrial and social history of our area across several time periods.

In Roman times, through the Victorian/Edwardian era and as recently as C20th, activity at the goldmines created a pocket of heavy industry in an area where upland farming and forestry were the main sources of employment. Physical evidence of all phases of mining are present here in the opencast pits and underground workings.

Dolaucothi provides an opportunity to explore how two diverse industries, mining and agriculture, each of enormous relevance to the history and development of Wales, sit side by side here in the Cothi Valley.

A site of significant archaeological, geological and botanical importance, Dolaucothi is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a SSSI. We are located in the heart of rural Carmarthenshire, but with easy access off the A482.

Underground Guided Tours

Underground in a dark mine
Visitors underground in a dark mine | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Our Mining Through The Ages Tour provides fascinating insights into the daily lives and working conditions of gold miners at Dolaucothi, going back some 2000 years. The Tour is into a dark mine, which students find exciting and thought provoking.

Our Tour Guides are engaging, experienced, fun and informative story tellers, happy to encourage curiosity, interpretation and discovery among students.

Guided tours can be tailored to the learning requirements of your group if you let us know any topics particularly relevant to your curriculum, e.g. :

Social History of Mining

  • the effect of mining on the local community
  • the transition from agricultural work to mining
  • opportunities for learning new skills
  • how and where workers lived, how they travelled to work
  • the food eaten underground
  • the long hours and physical hardships of digging for gold
  • child labour in mines

Industrial History

  • Roman mining methods, including hydraulic mining
  • changing technologies over 2 millennia
  • modern mining (Victorian / Edwardian, C20th)
  • economics and relative success of different mining periods

The Natural World

Dolaucothi Mine Yard surrounded by Dolaucothi Estate
Dolaucothi Mine Yard surrounded by Dolaucothi Estate | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Although Dolaucothi is an industrial heritage site, the goldmines are surrounded by the Dolaucothi Estate, a remote and beautiful upland farming area with an abundance of natural features and wildlife.

On The Mine Yard

The Mine Yard is skirted by woodland, which is home to variety of birds, flora and fauna for students to observe and enjoy.

Students are welcome to take part in the self-led Gold Panning Experience, located at the top of the Mine Yard, beyond the Rill and Golden Wheel

The sheds throughout the Mine Yard contain displays of mining machinery and equipment from the 1930’s

Our Field Centre has labelled displays of mining memorabilia, underground and surface maps, archives and artefacts for students to explore

There are plenty of picnic tables, some of which are under cover

Panning for gold at Dolaucothi Gold Mines
Panning for gold at Dolaucothi Gold Mines | © National Trust Images/John Millar


Our standard tours do involve steep slopes and steps up to the mine, as well as some damp / uneven surfaces underground. However, we are able to provide a tour into a mine with level access and no steps, which is suitable for students with more limited mobility. For full details of the accessibility of the site generally, please see our Access Statement

To book your visit

Complete a booking form and return it together with public liability evidence* to You’ll find a copy of our Risk Assessment here. All group visits must be booked in advance. We recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.

* All education groups must provide evidence that they have public liability insurance with a minimum £5m indemnity limit in place for when they visit. Insurance cover can be evidenced by sharing a letter from your insurance provider/broker stating that sufficient cover is in place. This letter does not have to be addressed specifically to the National Trust and can be a ‘To whom it may concern’ letter. This evidence should be provided at the time of booking a visit. This doesn’t apply to home-educating families when parents are visiting solely with their own children.

Once your booking is confirmed we can help plan your visit, either by telephone, or through the information you'll find in our downloadable Information Pack.

Education Group Access Pass

Schools or education groups can benefit from an Education Group Access Pass, which gives the whole group free admission and parking at most of the places in our care for a year

Teacher's Review

We have been very busy in class doing follow up work after our visit. This week we have created 3D maps out of collage materials of the site trying to recall key land marks.

All the children and staff had a fantastic time during our visit and they have not stopped talking about it since.

The excitement created by the gold panning was unbelievable. I have never seen them so engaged in an activity!

The cave experience was also brilliant. I cannot commend the Tour Guides enough, they pitched the talk at just the right level. The day had all the ingredients to make a very memorable school trip.

From a nervous pupil, as he was going up the stairs in the cave, ‘I’m going to try and be brave’ which ended up in ‘this is the best day ever’ when he managed to reach the top. It was a fantastic boost to his self-confidence.

‘Best day out ever!’ was the most popular opinion by class mates.