Things to do at Cotehele Mill
A fifteen-minute walk from Cotehele Quay car park, under a canopy of ancient woodland and along the Morden Stream, is Cotehele Mill. While it's believed that mills have existed in the Morden Valley since medieval times, this watermill dates to the 19th century and still grinds flour today. There are also baking demonstrations – with samples – as well as reconstructed workshops, Victorian farming equipment and flowers to explore.
Cotehele Mill is currently closed
From 30 October 2023, Cotehele Mill is closed whilst we prepare for Christmas. The mill reopens on Saturdays and Sundays from 18 November.
Cotehele Mill’s waterwheel
Around the back of the mill is a close-up view of the waterwheel. The wheel, which has 56 buckets each able to hold up to 41 litres of water, rotates at four revolutions per minute. This means it can produce a maximum of 6.5 kilowatts (or 8.7 horsepower).
The waterwheel is currently not able to turn due to recent storm damage to the weir. The team is working hard to restore the weir and get the wheel turning once again.
Grinding flour at Cotehele Mill
Head to the historic mill to see how it was used to grind local grain into organic wholemeal flour. When operational the millers manage to grind more than 7,100 kilograms of grain every year - thats approximately 4,600 bags of flour.
How the mill works
Ultimately the numbers rely on the rain. That’s because the millers rely on the Morden Stream to turn the wheel and how fast it turns dictates how fast the grain is ground into flour.
For example, when the stream is in full flow it takes two minutes to produce a 1.5 kilogram bag of flour. However, if the water is lower, this can fall to one bag per hour.
During the nineteenth century many country estates and villages had workshops to provide specialist skills. Recreations of these workshops can be found at Cotehele Mill.
The wheelwright would make wheels for wagons, carts, wheelbarrows as well as wooden parts for machinery on the estate.
As well as making horseshoes, the blacksmith would turn their hand to making and repairing a variety of metal tools for use on the estate. A horse chestnut tree and trough provides shade and water for the horses.
With horses often working on the estate, the saddler’s workshop was the place for making saddles, bridles and harnesses.
Most days there’s a volunteer baking in the mill’s demonstration bakery, where you can try freshly made bread or biscuits. Many of these baked goods are organic and additive-free. The organic wheat comes from Tamarisk Farm, a tenanted National Trust farm in Dorset.
Rain and flooding destroyed the weir near Cotehele Mill causing the mill and hydropower plant to stop working. Find out how a project is getting the mill back up and running.
There's lots to discover at the Cotehele estate. Miles of pathways lead you through ancient woodland, past a historic chapel, and to an important Victorian quay.