– – – EXPLORING THE COUNTRYSIDE AND LANES OF DORSET – – –
This week, we are looking at Dorset water mills. Clearly there are so many that one week is not enough to do them justice but at least we get to look at a few. Today’s mill is Melbury Abbas Mill, also known as Barfoot Mill.
Melbury Abbas Mill
Barfoot Mill stands in a stunning location in a valley beside its own beautiful mill pond. The pond itself is fed by the River Sturkel which is a tributary of the Stour – but then, most rivers in this part of the county are tributaries of the Stour. I say River Sturkel but it is actually little more than a stream that has its beginnings in a spring just a short distance away, and yet at the time of the Doomsday Book, this stream fed some 5 mills within one mile. Interestingly the name Sturkel is thought to mean Little Stour.
The mill itself was a corn mill dating from the 19th century and is the lower building to the left of the millers house in the picture above. It was driven by an external cast iron overshot water wheel which is inscribed with the year of 1875. At the time of the listed building registration, the internal workings were still in place, as well as two pairs of millstones.
It is not possible to see inside the mill because it is now a private residence but there is a truly delightful footpath that follows the stream past the mill along the valley bottom.
I feel like I should be featuring the next mill along this little stream, Cann Mill, because that is one of very few mills still being worked commercially but I have to say, Barfoot Mill is so much more picturesque 🙂 ! It is like a fairy tale mill especially on a sunny day such as this.
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