Discover the grounds at Bourne Mill

Enjoy a stroll around the tranquil grounds at Bourne Mill. Admire the exterior of the 16th century mill, built as a fishing lodge in 1591. Spot wildlife on the Mill Pond, from waterfowl to fish, or take a moment to enjoy the peace of the grounds whilst you sit on on a bench.

Still and tranquil, take a moment to enjoy the peace of the Mill Pond and its surroundings. The pond is spring-fed and to the far left of the pond the spring can be seen, helping to keep the pond full.

In spring, the pond comes to life as wildlife emerges. Familiar bird species return, including striking tufted and shoveler ducks and the traditionally British, fluffy white Aylesbury duck. Mallards and coots begin to nest on the banks of the pond, tending to their young in summer.  In previous years, cormorants have also been spotted, attracted to the pond by its good supply of carp. Rarer spots include herons and kingfishers, their bright colours seen darting across the water. 

On warmer days, carp can be seen basking close to the surface whilst dragonflies and damselflies flit across the water. The water itself is teeming with pond life including the freshwater ‘Swan Mussel’ which helps to keep the pond clean, healthy and full of life. 

A couple enjoy the grounds at Bourne Mill
A couple enjoy the grounds at Bourne Mill
A couple enjoy the grounds at Bourne Mill

Stroll around the grounds

Enjoy a short walk around the grounds, taking in the Mill Pond and the exterior of the 500-year old Bourne Mill. Take a look at our bug hotel, built by our gardeners to provide a safe haven for bugs and insects such as ladybirds, woodlice and bumblebees.

As you journey further into the gardens, pass the stumpery, another feature that supports the local wildlife, providing food and shelter. Follow the boardwalk through dense vegetation to cross and admire the marshy environment. Interesting marsh plant species can be found along the boardwalk, including the Gunnera Manicata or giant rhubarb plant, which can grow up to 15ft high and has extremely large leaves. Find a seat next to the mill pond to enjoy moment’s peace and if you’ve bought a flask, a quick refreshment before setting off again. 

The sluice gates at Bourne Mill
Sluice gates and willow at Bourne Mill
The sluice gates at Bourne Mill

Did you know…?

• In 1597 the Elizabethan herbalist book 'Of the Historie of Plants', also called 'Herball', by John Gerard was published. In his book Gerard wrote 'Marsh Cinkfoile groweth in a marsh ground adjoining the land called Bourne ponds from where I bought some plants for my garden, where they flourish and prosper well'. 

• A large pike from Bourne Mill pond was sent to Queen Victoria. This is shown on page 40 in Dr Chris Thornton's Bourne Mill historical report: 'Mrs Legerton recalled large fishing parties being held at the mill and on one occasion an unusually fine pike was sent to Queen Victoria'. You can read the full report here: Bourne Mill Historical Report (PDF / 1.66796875MB) download

• In the 13th century it was reported that there was a ducking stool in the grounds of Bourne Mill. This might have also been the case in the 17th century because Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, came from Manningtree and was very active in this area

Upcoming events

Bourne Valley Crafters' Fair

Sat 17 Sep 2022
Bourne Mill, will once again, be housing at least a dozen different craft stalls. The Bourne Valley Crafters and invited guest crafters can't wait to see you again.