“ Water mill and craft centre. Bakewell Road, Rowsley, Derbyshire. DE4 2EB. tel = 01629 734374 „
Located just off the busy A6 trunk road at Rowsley near Matlock in the heart of the Peak District National Park is where Caudwell's Mill and Craft Shop is to be found. I would describe this as one of those little gems that I occasionally stumble upon whilst out walking in the Derbyshire's countryside. Despite its location on a busy road it is set back from the main road and could quite easily be overlooked although it is sign-posted.
Whilst the central attraction of this place is a traditional working flour mill there is plenty more to see here as well. There are jewellery making workshops where you can watch jewellery being made by hand, a glass studio where you can see molten glass being blown, a blacksmiths where we watched horseshoes being made, an artist where portraits can be commissioned and a wood turner. At each of these workshops there is the opportunity to purchase these locally made goods, but be warned the prices are rather steep.
The flour mill was built in 1874 and is still driven by water powered turbines. During its heyday this was the most technologically advanced machinery of its kind in the world and today it is the only fully working example of this kind of machinery in Britain.
The tour of the flour mill is something that you are only likely to undertake once but it is certainly an interesting experience. When you part with your money you are given a leaflet which shows the layout of the mill and also explains the various areas. This information is further enhanced by information placards that are placed strategically within the building pointing out the different processes and the different types of machinery. I was actually surprised to discover that this mill had four different floors, with each one having its own role within the process.
At the end of the flour mill tour there is a small shop where you have the opportunity to buy bags of flour that have been ground here. This then leads to a larger gift shop and some tea rooms where light refreshments are available.
Entry to the workshops is free but there is a charge to tour the flour mill of £3 for adults and £1 for children.
The opening hours are:
10am until 6pm between 1st April and 31st October
10am until 5pm between 1st November and 31st March.
I would definitely recommend a visit to Caudwell's Mill and Craft Shop and it is located in a lovely setting, with a fast flowing crystal clear stream flowing through the middle of it. Within the complex there is a large free car park which is flat and covered in gravel. There is no charge to park here and the flat lay of the land would make the majority of the workshops accessible for disabled visitors. Unfortunately the mill tour however would not be suitable for wheelchair users or those with pushchairs since the stairs to the upper three floors are steep and windy.
Caudwell's Mill & Craft Centre
Tel - (01629) 733185
Situated about halfway between Matlock and Bakewell on the A6 road in Derbyshire is Caudwell’s Mill. This is a collection of craft workshops that are situated around a traditional water mill. The mill was built in 1874 and uses water turbine-driven roller mills. This machinery was the most advanced technology available at that time and has been preserved in working order to this day. This is the only complete working mill of this type remaining in the country. The working mill is open to visitors and a visit to the mill costs £3 for adults and £1 for children. You are given a guide card which gives a brief history of the mill and a plan of the four floors of the mill which you can wander around and see all the different aspects of the machinery and the milling process. Throughout the mill there are numerous information displays explaining what each piece of equipment is for and how it fits into the whole milling process. On your way out from the mill you pass the Mill Shop where you can buy flour that has been ground there. The whole layout of the mill makes a visit very interesting and there is plenty to keep everybody interested, whatever age they may be. There is a large free car park for the centre and after a visit to the mill you can relax in the Mill Parlour, which is a lovely traditional coffee shop. There are big chunky tables and chairs in here and there is a very old fashioned relaxing feel to the coffee shop, where there are some lovely cakes at very reasonable prices for you to increase your calorie intake. There is a very pleasant gift shop where a large number of interesting souvenirs and gifts are for sale. The prices in this shop are quite reasonable. There are about half a dozen craft workshops at the centre, including a glass maker, a wood turner, and a mill forge. We are always a bit disappointed by the very limited number of items that were for sale in these workshops and also the very
dear prices of the items here. The whole centre is in very pleasant surroundings, with the millstreams running gently through the grounds. During the summer the mill is open every day and in the winter months is open only at weekends. We always enjoy our visits here and find the mill fascinating. I can recommend a visit here.