Rocks by Rail: The Living Ironstone Museum

Cottesmore Iron Ore Mines Sidings, Ashwell Road, Cottesmore, Rutland, LE15 7FF, United Kingdom


Rocks by Rail – formerly know as Rutland Railway Musuem, is situated 4 miles from Oakham and tells the local story of how private  railways were used in the local ironstone extraction industry to move the extracted stone on the first part of its journey to the distant steelworks. It takes visitors back to the days before mass road transport when most minerals were was carried by rail and quarries had their own rail system. The museum’s  hosts a large collection of steam and diesel locomotives and wagons associated with quarry railways in the East Midlands and eastern England. The museum has the only comprehensive collection of locomotives and rolling stock relating to standard gauge quarry railways in the UK. The museum has built its own rail connected mock ironstone quarry where demonstrations of past quarrying and quarry railway practises are demonstrated for visitors on special themed Open Days. On advertised operating days the museum offers visitors a chance to travel along part of the former mineral railway that once served local quarry sidings. On other advertised days visitors have the chance to take to the controls of a diesel locomotive under supervision by our volunteer drivers. The museum charges for admission and Driver for a Fiver diesel loco footplate experiences . Visitors are welcome between Easter and the end of October on Tuesday, Thursdays, Sundays (only when the railway is operating ) and Bank Holiday Mondays (10am to 4pm) with special events as publicised on . Please contact the museum should you wish to organise a party visit outside these normal opening days. Over the last few years the museum site has undergone very significant improvements including the construction of a new large exhibition building holding locomotive exhibits whilst conservation work has recently been carried out on the surviving drivers cab of the giant walking quarry dragline named SUNDEW which achieved some fame in 1974 when the 1650 ton machine walked 13 miles to Corby when its own ironstone quarry at Exton Park in Rutland ceased to operate. There are always on-going restoration projects to view in the Woolsthorpe Workshop whilst light refreshments are available on major open days and most Thursdays. A gentle stroll alongside the rural railway walkway will take you to the remains of the Oakham Canal which was abandoned in 1840 upon the arrival of railways in the County


Adult - non operating day £6 to £6
Senior Citizen - non operating day £5 to £5
Child (3-14) - non operating day £4 to £4
Family (2 + 3) - non operating day £15 to £15
Adult - Operating Day £10 to £10
Concession -operating day £8 to £8
Child - operating day £6 to £6
Family (2 Ad + 3 Ch) £30 to £30

Opening Times

Sunday: 10:00 – 16:00 on event days as advertised on website
Monday: Closed except for Bank Holiday Mondays when open 10:00 to 16:00
Tuesday: Open  10:00 – 1600
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: Open 10:00 – 16:00
Friday: Closed

Saturday: Closed

Bank Holiday: 09:00 – 17:00


Contact Details

Tel (1): 07974 171068

Email: [email protected]



Follow brown signs from the village of Cottesmore – the museum is at the foot of the hill on the minor road linking Cottesmore and Ashwell, about 4 miles from Oakham.

A car park is provided at the museum for visitors. Also the Oakham Loop cycleway runs past the museum site and bikes can be left near the museum’s admission point.

There is flat, surfaced access route from the car park to the museum’s admission point. Generally routes around the museum are suitable for wheelchairs and buggies and museum volunteers are happy to provide assistance as required.

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