Newmilns Regeneration Association


We have summarised below some of the main facts and figures from the Community Profile – a report produced by the Steering Group to give a picture of Newmilns now. 


Newmilns and Greenholm is the oldest burgh in East Ayrshire. It lies on the A71, around seven miles east of Kilmarnock and twenty-five miles southwest of Glasgow.


The current population is around 2,925 and has decreased approximately 7.6% over the last 10 years. The percentage of children and working age adults has decreased, whilst the percentage of people of pensionable age has increased.


Newmilns has a slightly lower level of owner occupied housing (56.9%) than the East Ayrshire (58.7%) and Scotland average (62.6%). As a result, the area reports a higher level of local authority and private renting. Newmilns is an area with a high turnover of Council Housing and Registered Social Housing due to the volume of flatted properties.

Newmilns has a high level of flats, both local authority and private. A high percentage of these are currently lying empty. The local authority has planning permission to convert a small number of these into 2 or 3 bedroom houses.

Trust Housing and Hanover Housing provide housing & care for elderly people.

There has been very little housing development over the last 30 years, and there is a need for more family sized homes.

Employment and the Local Economy

Newmilns is still well known for the production of lace that is distributed worldwide. It is the only place in the world to weave Madras Lace which is sought after and exported to various countries. Newmilns used to have 10 lace mills but over the years this has been reduced to only 2 remaining and this has had an impact on the local industry and employment.

In 2001, 26% of the working population was employed in manufacturing – compared to 13.7% in Scotland. However, the closure of the Vesuvius factory in 2009 resulted in the loss of 300 jobs and the decline of the manufacturing sector.

Unemployment is higher in Newmilns than across East Ayrshire and Scotland, but has reduced slightly in recent years. Main centres of employment are Kilmarnock, Ayr & Glasgow.

Health and Care Services

Loudoun Medical practice provides GP and primary care services. We also have a pharmacy, dentist and an optician in Newmilns.

Overall health statistics for Newmilns are poor. ScotPHO information for 2010 shows that the rate of patients hospitalised with drug related conditions in Newmilns is over twice the rate for the rest of East Ayrshire. The rate of patients hospitalised with alcohol related conditions and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is also much higher her than in the rest of East Ayrshire.


Parent & Toddler Group meets every Wednesday in the Morton Hall.

Newmilns nursery is a Partner Provided Nursery run jointly by East Ayrshire Council and a group of dedicated parents and carers. There are 40 places in the refurbished classroom in the Primary School.

Newmilns Primary School has a capacity for 250 children. The school roll in 2013 stands at 138 children - significantly decreased over the last 10 years as in 2003 there was a school roll of 213.

The local secondary school, Loudoun Academy, is near Galston. There is no bus provision for children travelling from Newmilns. Loudoun Academy is currently undergoing major refurbishments to the school grounds and updating leisure facilities including the indoor swimming pool – all of which will be available to the public.


We currently have a library, the Morton Hall, the Senior Citizens Cabin, and a pavilion – all provided by East Ayrshire Council although at the time of writing these are the subject of review under the Asset Transfer policy.

There are also 2 churches with halls. 

Groups include: Burns Club, Ladies Social Club, the Newmilns Senior Citizens Cabin, Campbell Area Tenants and Residents Association, the Newmilns angling club, pigeon club, the dog club, badminton and keep fit groups, parents & toddlers, Scouts, Beavers, Brownies, Guides, Newmilns Youth Forum, Loudoun Church group, Covenant Church group, Irvine Valley Community Church, Townhead Church group including the coffee morning and the play group.

Recreational Facilities

For recreation there is Loudoun Gowf Club, the Bowling green, two football pitches and a multi sports cage in Jamieson Park. The biggest attraction is the Dry Ski slope which also incorporates the Extreme Valley Riders off road bike track. The Ski-slope has recently had a £1million upgrade which provided a new beginner slope, a new advanced slope and refurbishment of the building.

Newmilns also has a number of parks, play areas and open spaces and the Irvine Valley Path Network connects 35 miles of walking routes along the Irvine Valley Towns. Lanfine Estate, a working timber producing estate, is available to the community for walking.

Transport and Road links

Newmilns boasts a good quality bus service provided by Stagecoach. There is a 15-minute service through the village from Kilmarnock to Priestland, changing to half-hourly on evenings and Sundays. However the cost of public transport from Newmilns to surrounding areas is more expensive than comparative areas such as Kilmarnock to Irvine.

The main A71 goes through the centre of Newmilns, bringing heavy traffic at peak times, causing congestion and damage to the road surfaces. A by-pass has been mooted in the past.


Newmilns is steeped in history, being Ayrshire’s oldest Burgh – a status bestowed on the town in 1490. The area was inhabited as far back as 2000BC, as indicated by the site of a Neolithic circle at the Gowf Club. The Romans also built a road through the Irvine Valley around 200AD, which went from Loudoun Hill to Ayr.

Newmilns was a staunch Covenanting town. The most famous covenanter from Newmilns being John Nisbet of the farm of Hardhill who was executed in 1683.

Weaving was introduced to Newmilns by Huguenot refugees towards the end of the 16th century.

There are strong connections with Robert Burns who was a frequent visitor to Newmilns regularly stayed with the Reverend George Lawrie at Loudoun Manse.

There are around 40 listed buildings including Newmilns Keep which dates back to 1530.


The area surrounding the town teems with a wide variety of wild life including roe and red deer which can often be seen in the early morning, grazing on the fields adjoining the Primary School.

The River Irvine has natural scenic beauty and runs through the town and attracts many dippers, herons and ducks whilst the river itself contains salmon, sea trout, trout and otters.

Many surrounding forests are being stripped and given over to windfarms. The biggest of these is Whitelees, which are environmentally friendly and the Visitor centre is open to visitors. Paths through the windfarms open up miles of walking and cycling opportunities and there is renewable energy funding available to the community through East Ayrshire Council.