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Scottish mines

Oil shale pits

Coal shale pits


A Recognised Collection of National Importance

Home > Companies & Works > Shale Mines > Breichdykes pits

Breichdykes pits

Location Various - see locations, below show in map
Shale-field West Calder district
Dates opened and closed Various -not known
Owner Various
Type of working Various
Seams worked Various
Oil works served Not known
Current status of site Rough grassland


Maps and plans show a number of "old shafts" on the north side of the Breich water in vicinity of Breichdykes Farm. None of these shafts have been clearly identified or definitively associated with known underground workings.

It is possible that one or more of the shafts were ventilation pits serving Fells shale workings extending from Addiewell No.1 pit, or from Westwood No.12 pit. Most seem likely to be shallow small-scale workings in various seams of shale or coal lying close to the surface.

Evidence suggests that the short-lived Westwood Paraffin Oil Works of Robert Stewart & Company was sited in the vicinity of dykes farm. This seems to have been served by a branch from the West Calder loop line, the course of which can be seen in the 1950 aerial photo below. A number of the shafts lay close to this branch line. Shaft 1 is known to accessed the Mungle shale, which was also known as the Stewart shale; suggesting an association with Stewart's Westwood Paraffin Oil Works

Locations Breich


Ordnance Survey maps reproduced by kind permission of the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland.

Recent Images


On both sides of the Breich Water the Houston Coal was at one time extensively wrought, as shown by the numerous pits and mines defining its outcrop between the Blackbrae and Mid-Breich faults. .......... The (Mungle shale) varies in thickness from twenty inches to two feet, and was worked by shallow pits on both sides of Breich water............. At the present Addiewell Oil Works there is a dismantled shaft, 12 fathoms deep, to this seam and little is known about its quality. Oil Shales of the Lothians,. First edition; British Geological Survey, 1906.

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