Events from the past have underlined Dalmellington`s geographical importance, it is believed that the Doon Valley was a Roman thoroughfare and even possibly a Roman military station. During the time of the Covenanters 900 soldiers were stationed in the vicinity. There were two castles in the area, Loch Doon and Laight Alpin
Eighteenth century Dalmellington was a small rural village with some 500 inhabitants, but the modern way of life was already taking shape. Good quality coal was being produced from surface workings and sent down the turnpike road to Galloway. The town grew after Watt`s engine had made deeper mine workings feasible, and the completion of the railway in 1858.
Apart from the coal mining, there were 8,000 sheep and 800 black cattle on the hills, and plans were afoot for the spinning and weaving of wool. These plans resulted in 2 woollen mills which flourished for a time in the following century. The 2 mills employed about 30 people between them. The yarn from the largest was disposed of wholly to the Kilmarnock carpet manufacturers until the proprietor of the mill added a carpet manufactory with 8 looms constantly at work. The yarn spun in the second mill was also manufactured on the spot, into blankets, into plaid, packing cloth, etc.
There were also about 40 weavers working from home. Although by the 20th Century mining was the dominant industry, workers had to travel to outlying areas. Eight pits producing around 124,000 tons a year were operating in the 1940s. With the decline of the labour intensive deep mining, the area is now dependent on its replacement ... opencast (capital intensive) mining.
Loch Doon Castle