After a year of enforced neglect, the mill is now in action once again.
The financial problems the National Trust suffered as a result of the pandemic left them unable to support the reopening of the mill. The mill volunteers offered to set up an independent charitable trust to lease the mill from NT. Much to our surprise and delight they agreed and the mill is now operated by Acorn Bank Watermill Trust, registered charity no 1193320.When we started to look at the deterioration, the cobbled mill yard was more than knee deep in weeds, mill moth had made merry wherever they could find a milligram of flour, wasps had made several nests in the roof and the place was filthy. The leat needed clearing and many of the wooden wedges in the machinery had shrunk and needed refitting, replacing or reinforcing.
Our volunteers put in several weeks of scrubbing, disinfecting and weeding to ensure we were ready to start milling for the Easter weekend.
We had a new delivery of a tonne of Paragon wheat from a new supplier safely stored in the grain bin.
We also had new flour bags featuring a lovely line drawing of the mill by Victoria Mandale.
The pandemic has meant that people were much more likely to want to use contactless payment methods so we also acquired a card reader.
In spite of not being allowed to have visitors in the mill due to social distancing rules we got off to a flying start selling a number of bags of flour each day of the Easter weekend.
We have also managed to place stocks with local shops and hope we can increase the local public's knowledge of the mill's existence as well as the Trust's income. We are looking for more volunteers and aim to operate on more days to show the mill to more visitors.
These are exciting times!