Heatherslaw Corn Mill is a great place to experience the past in an original and inspiring setting. The mill is fully operational and gives the sights, smells and sounds of the historical context to the many displays and artefacts on offer. From food and farming through the ages to the life of a Victorian miller and his family, the Mill has something for everyone – there's even an exhibition on life during World War II.
There are many options available for your school group. Visits are tailor-made to suit the age and subject area(s) of the group, and can cover many areas of the curriculum. Sessions last from a couple of hours to a whole day and visits can include other venues on the estate such as the steam railway, Etal Castle, Lady Waterford Hall or Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre.
It is also possible to borrow one of our resource boxes (suitable for KS1 or 2) before or after you visit the Mill – please see the download 'Heatherslaw Cornmill Loans Box Contents' below for more information or enquire by telephone or email.
At Heatherslaw Mill options include:
Food and farming (funded by the Natural England Stewardship Scheme) - resource pack, hand quern, sample corn and flour available; can link visit with baker/bread maker on the estate.
Victorian session - looking at life as a Victorian mill worker. Loan boxes and resource packs available.
Evacuee session - looking at life as an evacuee in WWII. Loan boxes and resource pack available.
Flodden Visits - the role of Heatherslaw Mill & food production at the time of the Battle of Flodden.
Being a working corn mill situated in the heart of an agricultural estate we are in a unique position to tell the 'farm to fork' story to anyone studying food and/or farming. These visits can be offered free of charge to educational groups (subject to meeting certain criteria).
Learning about food production in a working corn mill offers students an opportunity to: discover in a relevant and hands-on way where their food comes from and how it is made; understand concepts such as the contrast between past and present; learn about the countryside and develop an understanding of 'real' food - something which many do not have much or any direct knowledge about.
A session in the Mill includes viewing the milling process from beginning to end, seeing and feeling the wheat in its raw form as well as the finished product of stone-ground wholemeal flour. Students can experience how corn was ground by hand prior to commercial milling, and at different times of the year see the farming process in the surrounding fields, from ploughing to sowing to harvest. It is possible to link a nature walk on one of the footpaths with this, looking at the growing crops and including a visit to the Heavy Horse Centre where past farming methods are explained, or visiting the traditional bread-maker and baker on the estate.
Teachers are offered a free visit prior to bringing their groups and the Mill Manager is very happy to discuss the content of the school visit prior to it taking place.
To find out more about other options on the Estates which may link in with a visit to Heatherslaw Mill please visit the Ford & Etal Education page.
• We can cater for groups from 11-60+ in number ( may need to split group if there is a large number of children). • Visits may be free of charge for Food and Farming study groups, subject to meeting criteria and completion of a short form. There is a small charge for other educational group visits. Details of both will be supplied at time of enquiry/booking.
• Free pre-visit for teachers • Downloadable resources • Resource boxes for KS1 & KS2 (borrow pre or post visit) • No time limits within opening hours – visit for a couple of hours or stay all day • Large enclosed outdoor picnic area • Indoor facilities for storing bags or eating lunch • Tearoom, Gift Shop, Visitor Centre, Public Toilets all on site • Free coach parking • Option to buy small 'goody bags' comprising items such as souvenir pencil, notepad, badge etc – please ask for details at time of booking.
Please fill out our contact form or telephone 01890 820338 for more information.
John & Lorna Speight - Papercut Artist and Jewellery Maker
John and Lorna started their individual businesses in North Northumberland over 20 years ago and returned to the area in 2017, opening a new workshop and retail outlet in the old drying kiln directly opposite Heatherslaw Mill. Combining traditional methods with contemporary design, both John's papercut silhouettes and Lorna's hand-made jewellery make ideal gifts.
Watch John at work as he cuts his designs, each one unique, and browse his range of silhouettes which include framed and unframed pictures of animals, trees, places, views, sport and many other subjects.
Lorna's "Spirit of Colour" jewellery features a fabulous array of colour, shapes and sizes and uses semi-precious stones, glass and charms. A wide selection of earrings, necklaces and bracelets are on sale.
Whether looking for an unusual and distinctive present or a treat for yourself, John and Lorna offer a vast choice of designs from which you can choose.
Sadly the temporary exhibiton centre which has been open through the summer in the old Bakery building, opposite the entrance to Heatherslaw Mill , is now closed for the winter. Developed by the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS) the extensive exhibition, 'Life in a Border Village 1830-1930' included maps, photographs and some artefacts, with a focus on the local villages of Crookham and Branxton. The centre, which was manned by members of TillVAS, reported a very successful season and hopes to return with another exhibition next year.
Hay Farm Heavy Horse Centre is set to step back in time on 11th & 12th October with its "Looking Back" event. Visitors to this weekend event will be able to see Heavy Horses working in the field and view horse drawn machinery through to the first working tractors. Whilst children can visit the Clydesdales stabled within the barn parents can browse the selection of crafters, food producers and demonstrators located in the undercover market area. The organisers of the event have been very fortunate in locating a rare crafter who will be demonstrating the old art of corn dolly making. Also joining them for the weekend will be a very unusual sight - the only ploughing mule team in the country, who apparently are also highly skilled at escaping from stables!
In its day Hay Farm was an integral part of the estate as the standing steam engines for threshing were located here. In years gone by seventeen heavy horses worked the land and moved cereals down to Heatherslaw for milling. This event incorporates these two venues and visitors can take a short leisurely walk down past the working horses to Heatherslaw Cornmill and learn of its history - children can even become 'junior millers'! This is truly a family event and is sure to bring back memories for grandparents as well as giving younger family members an insight into rural life in years gone by. Daily admission charge to event only £2.50 adults/£1.00 children. Admission event plus Cornmill – Adults £5.00 Children £2.00. Both venues open 10am – 4pm, last admission to Mill 3.15pm.
After a successful exhibition in 2013 TillVAS is returning to the Old Bakery opposite Heatherslaw Cornmill with an entirely new exhibition, running from 20th May until 25th September (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Bank Holiday Sundays & Mondays, 11am-4pm).
Having recently acquired a Robinsons Flour Dressing machine from Offley Mill in Staffordshire, Heatherslaw Cornmill is delighted to announce the launch of a new flour to add to its existing baking range . “Heatherslaw Malt” is made by blending wholewheat and the dressed flour, both traditionally milled at Heatherslaw, and adding malted wheat flakes from Silvery Tweed in Berwick.
Heatherslaw Cornmill played host to the Annual General Meeting of The Traditional Cornmillers Guild on 18th March, with traditional Wind and Watermillers from across the country travelling to Northumberland. To make the day a unique experience Head Miller Dave, along with mill volunteer Tom Hammill, were able to demonstrate the operation of the unusual Pearl Barley mill at the site. Dave explained ‘This is equipment that is not normally operated when we are open to the public because, as well as being incredibly noisy with a stone rotating at over 150 turns per minute, it also creates a lot of dust. We decided to run the equipment with a full load for what we believe to be the first time since the 1950s as it is something that even many experienced millers have not had the chance to see before.’