windermere panoramic
Boot
Eskdale Mill
Eskdale
Cumbria CA19 1TG
 
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Hidden away in Eskdale’s Boot Village in the West Lake District is an ancient water powered mill, still grinding grain just as it did over 300 years ago.  It and is one of the oldest water powered corn mills in England, and is now the last remaining working mill in the Lake District.
 
Set on the banks of Whillan Beck and nestled into the foothills of Scafell Pike, the picturesque stone mill is reached by crossing a 17th century stone packhorse bridge.  Dave King, the resident miller, conducts guided tours around the heritage mill.  He has been working the mill for over 17 years and what he doesn’t know about the mill, its history and characters, is not worth knowing.
 
The Mills recorded history goes back to 1294
The grinding of grain goes back 3,000 years to when native woodland was cleared to grow cereal crops.  Eskdale Mills recorded history starts in 1294 but its central structure dates from 1547.  Interestingly, the internal workings are of the same design as those used by the Romans during their occupation of Britain.
 
The mill is powered by two 12 foot (3.6m) overshot waterwheels each 3 foot (1m) wide. Overshot wheels are powered from a sluice over the top of the wheel.  Water is fed into bucket like wooden boxes and when the box fills it causes an imbalance in the wheel which makes it turn.
 
These two wheels power a complex arrangement of wooden hoppers, hoists and millstones which were installed in the 1700s.  It is a wonderful experience to see this ancient machinery in operation.
 
The grinding stones are 5ft in diameter
The grinding stones, 5 feet (1.5m) in diameter, have a pattern cut into the working faces.  Oats are fed onto the ‘eye’ of the top runner stone and are ground between the rotating working surfaces, gradually being worked to the edges where the resulting rough flour falls down to be bagged..  The coarse meal is used as animal fodder or it can be sieved to make flour suitable for culinary use.
 
The floor of the mill and the yard outside is inlaid with worn out millstones dating back 700 years.  The mill is now in the care of a Charitable Trust and admission charges all go to the upkeep and continued operation of this industrial heritage wonder.   Dave King is an informative and amusing guide and a tour of Eskdale Mill is a brilliant way of spending a few hours.
 
They have an interesting website which we thoroughly recommend visiting.
 
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Plan your Visit 
Opening Times
April – September:  11:39 to 17:30 hours.

The mill may be closed on a Monday or Saturday occasionally so it is a good idea to ring Dave King (The Miller) to check if the mill is open for visiting.

Access
Due to the historic nature of the site it is not suitable for wheelchair users and access may be restricted for some mobility impaired visitors.  Not suitable for children in pushchairs.
 
Facilities
No car park or toilets.  Picnic area in the woodland behind the mill
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1946 723 335
Website   Eskdale Mill Website
             
Getting There
Eskdale Mill is only a few minutes level walk from Dalegarth Station, the eastern terminus of the narrow gauge Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway.
 
Google Map - Eskdale Mill