Calbourne Water Mill & Rural Museum is located at the North East corner of the Isle of Wight. There’s been a mill on the site since before the Domesday Book was written in 1086. I had a chance to visit just last week and upon returning discovered it’s actually up for sale, if you’ve got a couple of million to spare.
The first thing you see when you enter the site is the water mill itself. There’s an overshot wheel and wooden workings that still mill flour and roll oats which you can purchase in the shop. You can see the whole process from the lifting of the bags to the top floor through the various stages of sifting and milling down to the bagging in the basement.
We missed the daily demonstration but had some very nice cherry scones made from their flour.
As well as the mill, there are a number of small buildings on the site, these hold smaller collections such as a historic TV and Radio, Fire Engines and a World War II exhibit. One thing that I particularly enjoyed was the old tools.
In a series of barns at the back was a great selection of stationary engines. My Dad commented that my Instagram feed from the week looked like an episode of Shed and Buried.
There was also some models of prototype farm equipment.
As well as the working water mill there was also a smaller mill and a windmill. The later had come from a garden festival in Liverpool. What I initially thought was a grain silo turned out to be one of the prototypes for the rocket programme that was run from the Needles, further across the island.
We had a fantastic afternoon at the mill and did not have a chance to see it all or take advantage of the mill pond punts or adventure golf. Given the pending sale, I hope the museum gets the right new owner and keeps going for years to come.
A final thanks to John of Ventnor Self-catering who sorted out our Ferry Booking.