What a find we had on Sunday! After picking up a leaflet in the butcher's shop about a working watermill and tea room we had never heard of, we set off with our lovely friends on an adventure to find it. The leaflet said a 20minute walk out of Ilfracombe along the coastal path. You can drive straight to it but we thought the walk would help us work up an appetite for a cream tea. They always taste better when you feel you have earned it.
As we got onto the coastal path there was a great view looking back towards Ilfracombe harbour. Next time we do this walk, I am planning to start at the harbour as I had not realised how lovely the coastal path is all the way round.
Ilfracome has a new skate park right by the water.
The children had brilliant fun watching, next time they are all plotting to bring scooters!
This piece of coastline is so spectacular, with the rock rising up out of the water!
The path comes out onto a hidden beach.
We set off with us all wondering if we were going to have to climb Hillsborough (that huge hill a couple of pictures ago).
It certainly looked like it at the beginning but.....
We cheated a bit and took the footpath around the back, past the community orchard. It would be amazing to take the red route one day, anyone up for it??
This path was lovely in a more calm and flat way.
Amazing views of the coastline beyond as you start the descent into Hele Bay (pronounced Heal by the locals).
Here is Hele bay itself, from this point you turn inland.
Crossing over the road, only this little sign denotes the treasure that lays beyond along the river.
Here it is 'The old Cornmill'
now owned by the very lovely Cathy and David Jones who took over the Mill and tea rooms a year ago.
Here is Cathy with all of her wonderful home made cakes, Devonshire splits and scones. A number of the cakes and scones made with the flour milled just across the path. Can you feel my sense of excitement, I think I might have to become a watermill enthusiast!!
The tea room is also a gift shop, selling all sorts of lovely locally produced things. I particularly love their spotty china.
Here is the waterwheel in full flow. David got the children on a 'millstone hunt' (counting how many they could spot built into the walls and path) whilst we waited for our cream tea to arrive, what great service!
Something about the sound of the water and the turning wheel is so relaxing, not to mention the lovely and unexpected sunshine. The children tuck in!
Here is Richard's cream tea, the scone was made with wholemeal flour milled at Hele Mill.
I had a savoury cream tea; a cheese scone, cream cheese and homemade red onion relish, yum! I am definitely having that again.
Cream tea enjoyed, let the tour begin!
This is how it all works, why use paper when there is a perfectly good wall!
David gave us a tour of the mill, explaining everything as we went.
David had to explain some quite tricky concepts in a way that could be understood by the six, eight and thirty eight year olds among us, no easy task!
Great excitement was had spotting the little wooden mice hidden around the mill.
This is Molly starting ‘the National Engine’ built in 1928. This would have powered the Mill if there was not enough water. Oh my goodness it was noisy!
This is the only picture I took of our lovely guide and host David. I wish I had got him to pose. He was so warm, welcoming, engaging and inspiring. He captivated our attention and we learnt so much on the way round. He let the children ask questions and have a go at all sorts of things inspired by their questions. They even ended up grinding corn in a pestle and mortar to further understand what corn is made up of.
At the end of the afternoon we could not help buying some Hele Mill flour to take home.
Ooh what shall we bake?
Delicious shortbread, Millie's favourite. What a treat to have found such an amazing place at the end of a gorgeous walk, made all the more special by David and Cathy and their wonderful hospitality. We will be back!!