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Dunster Working Watermill

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Dunster Working Watermill
Dunster mill.jpg
Dunster Working Watermill is located in Somerset
Dunster Working Watermill
Location within Somerset
General information
Town or city Dunster
Country England
Coordinates 51°10′57″N 3°26′45″W / 51.1825°N 3.4459°W / 51.1825; -3.4459
Construction started 1779
Completed 1782

Dunster Working Watermill (also known as Castle Mill) is a restored 18th century watermill, situated on the River Avill, close to Gallox Bridge, in the grounds of Dunster Castle in Dunster, Somerset, England. It is a Grade II* listed building.[1]

The mill stands on a site where a mill was first recorded in the Domesday Book, but the present building was constructed around 1780. It closed in 1962 but was restored in 1979 and is still used to grind flour. The equipment is powered by two overshot wheels. It is owned by the National Trust but operated as a tourist attraction by a private company.


At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 there were two mills in Dunster. One which was called the Lower Mill was on the site of the present mill. In the 17th century there were both malt and oats mills but by 1721 one of these had been converted to a fulling mill.[2] The present mill, which was built around 1780 and replaced the two former mills.[3] In 1940 a bakery was added.[2] The mill ground corn until World War II and then animal feed until it closed in 1962.[4]

It was restored to working order in 1979,[5] winning a conservation award in 1982.[4] The mill is still used to grind wheat flour.[6] A cafe was opened in the buildings which used to be the wagon house and stables.[2] Further restoration work, completed in 2007, was funded by the Exmoor Sustainable Development Fund.[5][7]

Although it is owned by the National Trust it is leased to a private company to run as a tourist attraction and an entrance charge applies to all visitors.[8] The site is visited by around 10,000 tourists a year and produces 6–8 tonnes of flour each year.[5][9] The second waterwheel was restored and the collapsed wheel replaced in 2015.[10]

Architecture and machinery[edit]

The pit wheel and spur wheel along with flour transporter and flour sieve.

The two storey building has a slate roof. To the south east a stone wall contains wrought iron gates in an arched gateway.[1]

The grinding equipment is powered by a pair of overshot wheels,[11][12][13] which transfer power to the crown wheel via a series of belts. This then drives the grinding stones and sack lift. There is a doorway on the first floor to allow material to be hoisted up the building.[14]

An adapted winnowing machine is used to sift the flour produced by the millstones.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Historic England. "Castle Mill and attached gateway and gates (1173447)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Dunster: Economic History" (PDF). Victoria County Histories. pp. 27–31. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Dunster Working Watermill". National Trust. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Dunster Conservation Area Character Appraisal" (PDF). Exmoor National Park Authority. p. 20. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "Dunster Working Water Mill". Everything Exmoor. Archived from the original on 12 September 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Dunster Water Mill". Dunster Water Mill. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  7. ^ Alder, Chris (21 August 2007). "Dunster's water mill gets a facelift". Somerset County Gazette. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Dunster Working Watermill". National Trust. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Dunster Water Mill". Windmills UK. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "Rare 18th Century two-wheeled waterwheel restored in Somerset". BBC. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Castle Mill and attached gateway and gates, Dunster". Exmoor Historic Environment Record. Exmoor National Park. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Dunster Castle Mill". Pastscape. English Heritage. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  13. ^ "Maintenance Works, Dunster Watermill". Dorothea Restorations. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Fishar, John. "Dunster" (PDF). Dartmoor National Park. Exmoor National Park Authority. p. 20. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Haughton, Emma (31 July 1999). "A fort worth visiting". The Independent. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Dunster Watermill at Wikimedia Commons