On the second day of our Devon & Dorset camping trip, we stopped at Bourton in North Dorset near Gillingham to check out Bourton Mill. Having only seen one report online of a fairly battered and near-ruin state we weren’t holding out for much.
With the graffiti and sheer carnage aside, there’s still some nice features and machinery in place at Bourton. The mill was actually mentioned in the Doomsday Book and has operated under many different guises. From supplying canvas to the Royal Navy it also produced boilers, steam lorries and gas engines. During the First World War, Mills Bombs (hand grenades to you and me) were also made here until a flood destroyed the machinery. In 1933 Bourton Mill re-opened as a dried milk plant and continued to produce throughout WW2 until it’s closure in 1998.
My favourite part was the water feature running through the centre of the mill. We all heard running water but assumed the rain was coming down hard outside, we didn’t think we’d find such a diamond in the rough of this dereliction!
The mill has clearly been left to the elements and vandals. We walked around the site for over an hour without any trouble or seeing anyone else at all.