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Behind the scenes ‘hard hat’ tour of Eskdale Mill as it undergoes important restoration works

Eskdale Mill

As part of this year’s Heritage Open Days programme, the mill is open on one day only on Thursday 6th September for people to view the ongoing works to restore the buildings and mill machinery.

Architects, builders and millwrights will be on hand to explain the National Lottery funded restoration works going on at the historic Eskdale Mill in the village of Boot in Cumbria. The tour starts at 11.00am and will last for about an hour. It is free but places must be booked for health and safety reasons. Contact [email protected] or telephone 016973 20803 to book a place or look for more details on the Heritage Open Days website www.heritageopendays.org.uk

Eskdale Mill is undergoing a £1 million restoration and interpretation project thanks to a National Lottery grant and cash raised through Copeland Community Fund, Cumbria Fells and Dales European LEADER funding, Pilgrim Trust and other charitable trusts.

This is the first year that Heritage Open Days (HODs) has run over two weekends and the Eskdale Mill tours are one of the first events in the programme. “Heritage Open Days champions everyone’s story and everyone’s history,” says HODs Manager, Annie Reilly.

Heritage Open Days is the largest heritage festival in the country; in 2016, over 5,000 events welcomed around three million visitors across England. Heritage Open Days operates as part of the National Trust with funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Eskdale Corn Mill is a Grade II* listed building and is the last operating water-powered mill in the Lake District National Park. Along with other buildings, such as a stable and cottage, it sits alongside a packhorse bridge in the picturesque village of Boot, in the beautiful Eskdale valley. It was noted as an important feature in the Lake District’s bid to achieve World Heritage Site status. It is, however, badly in need of repair and restoration, as might be expected from such an historic building dating back centuries, and the mill machinery is in sore need of some care and attention to keep it operating.

Eskdale Mill is a local visitor attraction, only ten minutes’ walk from the final station on the Ravenglass and Eskdale narrow-gauge steam railway line, which carries up to 100,000 passengers each year. The project will also improve the mill and surroundings for visitors, with better facilities and interpretation to provide more about the history of the mill and the people who have worked there. Educational visits by schools and other groups will also be encouraged and supported.

Eskdale Mill & Heritage Trust is on the lookout for new volunteers to help with things like mill tours when the mill re-opens and to be trained in mill maintenance. Visit the Eskdale Mill website http://www.eskdalemill.co.uk for more information.

Work is expected to carry on until early next year, with plans to re-open the mill to visitors in Spring 2019.

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