Elevated concentrations of antimony (Sb), arsenic (As) and lead (Pb) in upland organic-rich soils have resulted from past Sb mining activities at Glendinning, southern Scotland. Transfer of these elements into soil porewaters was linked to the production and leaching of dissolved organic matter and to leaching of spoil material. Sb was predominantly present in truly dissolved (< 3 kDa) forms whilst As and Pb were more commonly associated with large Fe-rich/organic colloids. The distinctive porewater behaviour of Sb accounts for its loss from deeper sections of certain cores and its transport over greater distances down steeper sections of the catchment. Although Sb and As concentrations decreased with increasing distance down a steep gully from the main spoil heap, elevated concentrations (~ 6-8 and 13-20 μg L− 1, respectively) were detected in receiving streamwaters. Thus, only partial attenuation occurs in steeply sloping sections of mining-impacted upland organic-rich soils and so spoil-derived contamination of surface waters may continue over time periods of decades to centuries. Capsule abstract Production and leaching of dissolved organic matter led to the concomitant transfer of truly dissolved Sb to soil porewaters. Leaching of spoil-derived Sb impacted on the quality of receiving stream waters.