Lovingly restored historic mill in a village near Taunton

THE Mill at Bishops Lydeard has reopened after two years of closure and Alan Reeve went to check it out.

The Mill Lane attraction dates back around 400 years.

A mill on this site was listed in the Domesday Book over 1,000 years ago when medieval residents diverted a stream to create power to grind local wheat into flour for bread.

The current building is from the 17th century and consists of a mill with the adjoining miller’s house.

The mill served the village and its bakers until the late 1950s when supermarkets supplanted local bakeries.

After it closed, it sat empty for years before being acquired by builder Charlie Back.

He and his wife Yvonne renovated the house to become their own home.

Then Charlie turned his attention to the mill to recreate this wonderful piece of Bishop Lydeard’s heritage.

He added many elements of the region’s heritage to the mill’s restoration and now features artifacts and exhibits that bring local history to life.

As you enter the garden, your attention is drawn to a gypsy caravan and a Victorian hay wagon, while behind the house hides a Royal Mail coach that ran between London and York 200 years ago.

Elsewhere are a Welsh coracle, a Ford Model T car, an undertaker’s beer, a shepherd’s hut and many other mobility items.

The mill’s equipment has been carefully restored. The outer paddle wheel and the beam that drives the Mill have been completely renewed.

There is plenty of information about the milling process and many elements of life and work from years gone by, such as a thatcher at work, a cooper mending his barrels, a blacksmith, an ironmonger, a Victorian kitchen and a stage of World War II of a boy with a gas mask, his mother and an anti-aircraft agent.

Also on site is a small tea room offering hot breads, tasty scones, tea, coffee, soft drinks, ice creams and more.

It was all created by the love and enthusiasm of the owners, and although there is an entrance fee, they don’t take a penny from visitors to the mill.

All proceeds from registration are donated to five local charities, which provide stewards for the factory reception.

Le Moulin is open to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Monday and Saturday. It also opens on Saturdays in August.

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