A trip to Charlecote Mill

Millers visit to Charlecote mill

Our Millers take a tour of Charlecote Mill

26 April 

One of our milling volunteers Sarah reports on a recent millers’ trip to a watermill in Warwickshire:

A day off work and an early start to reach Charlecote Mill in Warwickshire for ‘A day of Practical Milling’ and it turns out there is some rivalry between water and windmills! 

Set in a beautiful location on the river Avon, the watermill feels spacious compared to our mill and there is a constant soundtrack of water from the millrace.

After the obligatory introductions of other water-millers, wind-millers and those simply with an interest, it’s time for a tour; the leased mill is run solely by Karl and designed to have 4 millstones run off two water wheels, he’s currently running with a maximum of three.  For full history see https://www.charlecotemill.co.uk/

It’s key to remember that Karl does everything, all maintenance of the building, water way and machinery including dressing the millstones. He mills 5 days a week (water level permitting) to supply chapati, wholemeal and white flour commercially.

Grain is delivered loose by a local farmer ‘from combine’ and blown into the top floor grain stores, the stores are actually a higgledy collection of steel lined boxes between the 2nd and 3rd floor with various chutes to deliver the grain to the cleaner or each of the millstones.

The grain is ‘cleaned’ on site in a machine designed and built by the previous mille. This is waterwheel powered of course and the more time you spend in the mill the more your brain starts to make sense of the various machines and belt connections to the waterwheel because hey its free energy; Millstones, cleaners, sideboard, grain transport, hoist, kettle (joke).

This becomes more apparent once the sluice gates are raised and the building comes to life. Similar to our modular mill there is a lot of aural control required of the miller but Karl has a lot more to listen into; how each waterwheel is performing, is the cleaner misbehaving, the damsels on each set of stones have a different sound, the constant rustling sound of grain moving around chutes and the warning bells (on each set of stones) to indicate the grain supply is running out. This is all whilst checking the flour and adjusting each flour delivery and stone setting, replacing flour sacks and the admin associated with running a business.

Obviously we had a go at everything and learnt plenty of things to bring back to our mill but all too soon it was time to head home, once our taxi driver had bulk bought some chapati flour!.


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