Greetings from the Mill Manager!

Welcome to this Autumn 2019 edition of our newsletter.

Hope this finds you all well and that you’ve had chance to visit the newly restored mill or to keep an eye on the summer’s proceedings via our website, social media or the local press. I met a few of you at the mill this summer and I look forward to meeting more of you as time goes by.

So much has been achieved over the past year and just in the six months that I’ve been working here. We officially re-opened to visitors following our grand launch event in July and until early November was open for 5 days a week. We’ve greeted over 3000 visitors so far and welcomed our 1000th visitor in the summer holidays with a year’s membership and a copy of our new guide book.

The mill complex is now looking great with its restored buildings, waterwheels and working machinery and upgraded grounds. The mill also has a brand new self-guided interactive exhibition with lots of activities for people of all ages and abilities to see, do and get involved with. The changes have been sensitively carried out and reflect the special nature of the mill and its importance as a historical community asset. We’ve had recurrent positive feedback from our visitors, both from those visiting for the first time and those returning following previous visits. It enhances my work days when I see those smiles, enthusiasm and inspiration from a variety of visitors who all appreciate the hard work and effort that’s gone into the recent restoration phase plus understand the unique gem that the mill is.

Much of my focus has been on providing a warm welcome to our visitors and ensuring their quality experience. And we’ve been receiving regular 5* reviews as a result. This wouldn’t be able to happen without the sustained support of volunteers, old and new who have all found a role that suits them in order to support the daily activities at the mill complex and ensure its smooth running during opening hours. Part of my role is to generate that team ethic and make sure volunteers feel supported and are adequately trained to do the work that needs doing.

Sat here in my office on a gloomy November day, thoughts of the future are prominent. Developments are being made to guarantee a successful tourist season next year and a vibrant year for visiting groups such as schools and other community groups. Public events will be held to celebrate National Mills Weekend in May 2020 and I look forward to supporting the local Boot Beer Festival in June 2020. I hope further smaller events will take place such as monthly flour milling demonstrations, wildlife related children’s activities, heritage skills training sessions and practical conservation workshops. Further details will be provided over the coming months.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to my first Christmas season here and welcoming our visitors to a seasonally-themed mill. We have now reduced our opening hours from 11am – 3.30pm until March. During these winter months, we will be opening our doors at the weekends in December and March and during Christmas and school holidays only.

There is still lots to do here. In winter, machinery and grounds maintenance and artefact cleaning will take place on scheduled volunteer work days and future plans are afoot to develop the Miller’s Garden, Piggery building and Paddock and manage the Tentergarth meadow.

Membership subscriptions and donations are well received as they let us know that your support is out there and keen in helping continue the story of Eskdale Water Corn Mill for the future and for generations to come.

Kate Hughes, November 2019.