Restored mill part of big heritage festival

Heatherslaw Mill
Heatherslaw Mill

A historic mill, which is marking 40 years since being restored, is offering half-price entry to visitors during an annual festival celebrating the UK’s milling heritage.

Heatherslaw Corn Mill, on Ford and Etal Estates, is taking part in National Mills Weekend on Saturday, May 9, and Sunday, May 10.

During the event, visitors will be able to explore the three-storey building, see the whole milling process from grain to flour and learn about the miller’s life in days gone by.

Lord James Joicey, of the Estates, said: “Heatherslaw has such a long and colourful history that we thought it was appropriate to join in National Mills Weekend as well as celebrate the 40th anniversary of its reopening.”

There has been a mill at the site on the River Till for more than 700 years with the current building dating back to the early 19th century.

At that time, Heatherslaw was a thriving industrial site accommodating blacksmiths, millers and carters, but by the turn of the 20th century, this had all declined.

In 1949, the millstones at Heatherslaw ground to a halt. Unused and abandoned, the mill became derelict and seemed set for demolition.

However, during the late 1960s, when interest in preserving the country’s industrial heritage grew, a group of volunteers formed Heatherslaw Mill Trust and began a programme of restoration.

Silt and debris were dug out by hand, the massive millstones and water-wheel were renovated and the complicated machinery of gear-wheels and shafts carefully re-aligned. In May 1975, Heatherslaw Mill opened to the public.

It is now open daily from late March to early November and the mill’s produce can be sampled in some of the home-baking available at Heatherslaw Tearoom in the old mill granary. Heatherslaw still produces its flour by traditional methods that have scarcely changed in 2,000 years. In recent times there has been an increase in demand for its spelt flour. As part of the anniversary celebrations, the mill is holding 40 days of special offers, talks, tours and hands-on activities, starting on May 25.

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