The working watermill at Acorn Bank
Tucked away between the trees and the Crowdundle Beck, the watermill is only a short walk from the gardens and well worth seeing on your visit.
There has been a watermill at Acorn Bank for hundreds of years. The first mention is made in 1323 when the estate passed to the Knights Hospitaller, however the present building dates from the early 19th century.
Although primarily a corn mill, the mill has also been used to provide power to the gypsum mines which were located on the estate.
The mill ceased to work in the 1940s and gradually fell into a state of ruin. Restoration began in the late 1980s, at which time the woodland walks were also opened, allowing visitors greater access to the estate.
The mill building was partially restored with the help of work experience teams and has been open to the public since 1995.
Getting it running
In the last few years the mill has undergone a further transformation with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers, who have restored the machinery within it to working order.
Flour was ground for the first time for more than 70 years in September 2011 and the achievement of the volunteer team was recognised when they won the Marsh Heritage Volunteering Award in 2012.
These volunteers stepped up to the plate again in early 2021, when, owing to COVID19, it was feared the mill may have to close due to scaled back operations at Acorn Bank. The team formed the Acorn Bank Watermill Trust, and the mill continues to produce flour. You can see it working on Saturdays and Sundays, 11am-3pm, April to September, plus Bank Holidays. If you want to follow the team's endeavours, more information can be found on their website (external link) and Facebook page. If you're interested in volunteering, you can get in touch with the team directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.