The oldest surviving working water mill in Suffolk will be welcoming more families and young people when it reopens its doors later this month.
Pakenham Water Mill, which dates back almost 1000-years, opens to the public again from Saturday 22 May and volunteers have been working on a number of improvements backed with funding from a quartet of West Suffolk councillors.
The mill is owned by the Suffolk Building Preservation Trust, a registered charity, and run by volunteers
The Trust wants to encourage more families to visit the mill so that more generations can connect with their heritage and learn about the environmentally friendly technology of waterpower as well as raising awareness of the importance of wildlife and increasing and protecting biodiversity.
West Suffolk Councillors Simon Brown, John Griffiths, Andrew Smith and Jim Thorndyke are backing a series of improvements with a total amount of £3,813 from their locality budgets.
Part of that has funded activities for children to complete in order to win a prize, the redecoration of part of the mill interior and a moveable ramp to help improve disabled access.
Sarah Williams, fundraiser for the Water Mill said: “We are delighted to receive this support from our local councillors. It will enable us to attract and engage with more families with younger children. The Water Mill provides a perfect venue for a family day out, with children and adults alike learning something new every time they visit.”
The water mill was voted in the top three best landmark sites in Britain by readers of the BBC Countryfile magazine in 2019.
Visitors who attend on a Thursday morning during the season can watch as the mill produces it’s renowned stone-ground wholemeal flour, which is then available to buy with a range of other flours and gifts in the shop.
The tearoom is open selling refreshments and freshly made cakes.
Outside a circular walk takes in a recently planted orchard of fruit trees while a wildlife area on the bank of the mill pond is home to frogs, toads, slow worms and insects.
From Saturday 22 May until Sunday 26 September, the Water Mill will be open to visitors every Thursday from 10am to 12.30 when you can see flour being milled during the morning, and on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday afternoons from 1pm to 4.30pm. Social distancing restrictions will be in place until at least 21 June, depending on latest advice from Government guidelines.
For more details about the water mill including special events on throughout 2021, visit www.pakenhamwatermill.org.uk