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Things to do at Finch Foundry

Shaping metal on the anvil at Finch Foundry, Devon
Shaping metal on the anvil at Finch Foundry | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Take a guided tour of Finch Foundry to experience the sights, sounds and smells of one of the South West's most successful edge tool industries. Inspect the waterwheels that power massive hammers, giant shears, and a huge sharpening stone. Get an insight into the life of workers in the 19th century and learn about the enterprising Finch family.

Guided tours: A doorway to Dartmoor's industrial past

Start your journey in 1814 and hear about the people who owned and worked the forges for the next 146 years. Get to know the enterprising Finch family who ran the business in the 19th century and the ways they diversified and grew the business.

Follow the journey of the water, taken from the River Taw, from leat to launder. Then see how it's used to power the three waterwheels that each have a different job at the foundry.

In the forge the industrial past is brought to life with a demonstration of the massive water-powered hammers and shears that the workers would have used to shape hot metal into tools. Please note that when the machinery is running it can be very loud.

Finish off in the carpenter’s workshop, the site of the old saw mill, which now houses a collection of the tools made at Finch Foundry over the years. Handles for the metal tools would have been made here. There is also a grinding house with a water-powered grinding stone and polishing wheel, used to sharpen the tools made in the forge.

Tours last around an hour, if you have any concerns around the loud machinery or access, please do get in touch or speak to the tour guide on the day.

Hands-on tools

There are some examples of the tools made at Finch Foundry that you can get hands on with at the start of the tour.

The Garden at Finch Foundry in Devon, a cottage style garden filled with flowers and foliage with a small thatched wooden summerhouse.
The Finch Foundry garden | © National Trust Images/Ian Shaw

The garden

It may be small but there's lots to explore. Winding grass paths through the flower borders, a quirky thatched summer house, and a hidden pathway to the peaceful quaker burying ground.

There are plenty of picnic tables and you're welcome to bring food from home or see what treats they have in the local village shop. If you're feeling more adventurous you could take a wander down to the River Taw which can be easily reached from the garden at Finch Foundry.

Second-hand books

There are a range of second-hand books for sale in the roundhouse, found just outside visitor welcome. A large selection of gardening books, novels perfect for a holiday read, and more.

Sticklepath village

As a small property there is no tea-room at Finch Foundry, but being located in the village centre there are some lovely options for food and drink. Ask the friendly welcome team for more information.

A guide taking visitors on a tour around Finch Foundry, Devon. The last working water-powered forge in England.

Book your visit

Please book tickets to Finch Foundry to guarantee entry. You can book for today up until 8am. Every Thursday time slots will be available for the next four weeks.

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