England’s imposing buildings are the by-product of millennia worth of civilization. One of its most formidable is the Bank of England, which houses one of the world’s oldest financial institutions, and the subterranean vaults that hold the country’s gold reserves.
For prospectors sniffing out gold throughout the UK, there are several areas you can try your luck—legitimately, and not from within bank vaults! There are a number of different places throughout the United Kingdom where gold discoveries have been made over the centuries.
UK Gold Sites
One of these places is the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, characterized by about 110 square kilometers of woodland. This forest is the site of the Bailey Level Gold Mine which was opened in the early 1900s and extracted both gold and iron. Today, the area is managed by the Lea Bailey Light Railway Society and is no longer operating, but downstream of it is a popular place for panning, particularly the Dolaucothi area.
Another area for prospecting in England is called the Northern Pennines. It is situated in the northernmost section of the Pennine range, a series of hills running through northern England, and has been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. For prospectors also looking for great views, you’re sure to find it here.
The waterways within the Northern Pennines have been known to produce alluvial gold due to the mineral richness of the surrounding area. Particular spots for panning are the Nenthead Area and the River Swale.
The Pennines are one of the favorite sites of Vincent Thurkettle, the former president of the World Gold Panning Association. Thurkettle was credited for the discovery of Britain’s largest gold nugget. He found it in a different area, however, as one the remnants of a shipwreck from 1859 off Anglesey coast on the seabed near Moelfre. The nugget weighs 3.4 oz, roughly the size of a small chicken egg, and has been valued at around £50,000.
England’s second largest nugget, weighing 2.08 oz, brings us to Cornwall, which is also a great place for prospectors to schedule a jaunt. Many of Cornwall’s rivers, particularly in the north and western areas are good places to search. In Pool, the South Crofty Mine is currently undergoing a revamping, as its Vancouver-based owner Strongbow Exploration is preparing to get the mine operational this year. Though this area has been known more for tin, exploratory drilling in the area have resulted in commercial-grade gold finds.
Other areas in the UK for gold prospecting are the Lake District, a mountainous region in northwest England. While famous for its lakes, gold discoveries have also been noted here. Good areas to check out are Muringsdale or Blencathra Mountain for placers. Another area is the Dunmail Raise, a large cairn and mountain pass forming the low-level route between the northern and southern sides of Lake District.
In Scotland, gold can be found in the Lowther Hills around Wanlockhead and in Leadhills. In fact, a large nugget worth £10,000 was found near a river in the southern uplands near Wanlockhead back in 2015.
Other areas include Mennock and the Kildonan Area near Helmsdale.
Because of the vastness of the UK, as well as the nature of its geography, the areas where gold can be found are fairly spread out. While not as prolific in gold production as America, England still has several golden prospects and beautiful views in store for those who venture out with their pans and shovels.
Just remember, if you’re an interested gold prospector, one must always make sure to research the applicable gold mining laws of the area. As a rule of thumb, gold panning in England requires permission from both the owner of the rights as well as the owner of the land.
While English gold discoveries can be quite rare, that’s part of what makes gold finds on this side of the world so precious! So, whether you’re a prospector on holiday in one of these areas or a hobbyist who happens to be in the vicinity, stay hard at work.