A SOUTH Lakeland watermill attraction is to receive a near £1 million Heritrage Lottery North West grant to make vital repairs.

The 18th-century Heron Corn Mill at Beetham will get £939,100 to ‘vastly’ improve its facilities and overall visitor offer.

An outside 14-foot high waterwheel will also be restored and once finished will generate the mill’s electricity alongside the hydropower turbine.

A rare Lowder frame, associated with the machinery will also be renovated.

And a key part of the project will be introducing a diverse range of learning opportunities which will enable the mill to attract a much wider range of visitors.

Guided walks and talks, craft workshops and new resources for schools will help people interact with and better understand the history of the mill.

Traditional building skills training will also be on offer consisting of, amongst others, roofing, masonry and millwright placements.

The medieval mill site is already widely used by the local community by groups including the local history societies, Age UK and the Wood Education Group.

Audrey Steely, Creative Project Manager at Heron Corn Mill, said once the work is completed the mill will become an important example of a sustainable historic building which harks back to times gone by when it was an important food and animal feed provider for the village of Beetham, producing many of the staples of everyday life.

“We are so pleased to have been awarded this HLF grant, as the mill is such an important building within our surroundings, demonstrating how water power was used through the ages,” she said. “It will create so many new opportunities for us, and also enable access to be greatly improved for our locals and visitors”

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron said the money will enable vital restoration works to begin at the mill. He said it would provide real and far-reaching benefits to South Lakeland’s local heritage.

The Heron Corn Mill is situated on the banks of the river Bela and is one of the few working mills in the area. A newly installed 100kW hydropower Kaplan turbine generates electricity and takes the site's use of water-powered renewable energy into the 21st Century.