The Town Mill Lyme Regis
Writing this blog has really encouraged me to venture out and properly explore where I live. I know from the great feedback I have received that some of these places might otherwise pass you by as well. So despite winning awards for the last two years for being one of the best small visitor attractions in the South West, I am betting there are lots of you who have not yet visited the Town Mill Lyme Regis.
Town Mill is an historic working water mill at the centre of the lovely West Dorset town of Lyme Regis. It’s a free attraction (donations welcome) with something to offer for all ages from history to mechanics. A great place to spend an hour or two.
Award Winning and Volunteer Run
The mill is run by an amazing group of volunteers including volunteer millers and guides. It is a unique small attraction in Lyme Regis.
There has been a mill on the lovely River Lym for over 1000 years, with the site having an entry in the Doomsday Book. The Mill was owned by the Town Council (hence Town Mill) and in the past local farmers would have brought their grain there to be milled.
I won’t go into too much detail about the history of the mill. Part of the beauty of the visit is a free guided tour by one of the knowledgeable volunteers. In low season it may be advisable to call ahead to check if a miller or guide will be there.
We learnt about the history of grain and milling, as well as the interesting history of the Town Mill.
If you have the time there are a number of information boards to read. Children can complete a quiz as they go round, (it does require reading the boards) aimed at about aged 8+
The mill is set over two floors so you will need to be able to manage a set of stairs to see the upstairs of the mill and the watermill working. There is disabled / buggy access to the first floor areas.
The current water mill and buildings have been lovingly restored after falling into dereliction in the 1970s. There were plans in 1991 to demolish the whole Town Mill area for redevelopment into houses. What a crying shame that would have been.
Thankfully a Trust was formed, that included local resident John Fowles (of French Lieutenant’s Woman fame). Money was raised and grants obtained for the restoration.
Now the area includes not just the renovated mill, but other saved buildings. These house the lovely Courtyard Cafe, the Town Mill Arts Galleries, a brewery, a restaurant and other specialist shops.
The Town Mill
Personally I think this is a little gem of a place. A great example of what a group of volunteers can do to really enhance a town and save an historic place from development. Lyme Regis has such a variety of attractions which are lovely on those not so perfect beach days.
During the holidays look out for cooking and craft events. You can even buy a little baking kit to take home as a lovely present from the gift shop.
Although the mill is relatively small, it will provide something of interest for all ages. From the fascination of the water wheel turning, to the mechanics of the grind stone or the vast number of phrases we get from the milling process. Well known ones include “put your nose to the grindstone” and it goes “against the grain”.
The Town Mill Lyme Regis
This is another great example the special places we have in our region that you can explore. Other similar days out at historic sites include Cadhay Manor in Ottery St Mary and Shute Barton near Colyton.
Have you got any gems like this near you to recommend? Enjoy Lyme Regis and take a look at the Events listing to learn about local events that you can also enjoy.
Click through here for a link to the Town Mill’s website.
The mill area has a number of car parks nearby – there is no public parking at the site. The closest is the small short stay car park at the bottom of Broad Street (DT7 3QD) and there steps from the top end of the car park going straight down to the Mill area.
There is a lovely riverside walk to one of the other car parks on Woodmead Road (Hill Road – DT7 3HN), although there is a short section of steep hill to it.
The Mill is open from 11am – 4pm daily in peak seasons – please check opening times especially in low season.