HERON Corn Mill, one of the oldest surviving working watermills in the UK, is to re-open to the public in April following a major refurbishment.
The unveiling of the work will take place on Saturday April 19 after various grants were awarded to help the project, including £939,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2012.
The major refurbishment was also funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe and matched funding from J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust.
A grade-II listed building, Heron Corn Mill in Beetham was rebuilt in the 18th century on a site that dates back to the 13th century. Predominantly a village corn mill, it has long fulfilled a vital role in the area. The mill is self-sufficient due to a 100kW hydropower turbine installed in 2010, which provides green energy for the buildings. Surplus is sold to local industry, which brings in an income.
The refurbishment has enabled essential repairs and restoration of the unique mill to take place, including the ancient grinding machinery that dates back to 1740.
Audrey Steeley, project manager, said “We are very much looking forward to the mill re-opening. In recent years, work on the site has prevented us offering the full visitor experience, but now with the mill looking great, with new interpretation, more staff and volunteers, we are ready to greet the public!”
Visitors can expect improved access, including a unique and colourful downloadable hydro game, a visitor app and a live feed from the hydro, which shows the energy and equivalent income generated.
They will be able to explore the three-storey corn mill, see the water power connection of the old and the new, meet Stuart the miller, join guided tours and watch the millstones turn.
Heron Corn Mill will officially be re-opened on Easter weekend by scholar, broadcaster and writer Ivan Day as part of a weekend of activities.
Ivan will give a talk and demonstration about the traditional food of the working people of the Lakes counties with an emphasis on the grain.
The next day, Nick Jones of Little Salkeld Mill, Penrith, will also give a talk.
A special performance entitled ‘Threshold’ is being devised by Ghostcog, a company of local artists and actors for the opening and will be performed both days of the relaunch.
Further information can be found at www.heronmill.org