Tone Works (Fox Brothers & Co.), nr Wellington, Somerset

The Tone Works Mill in Wellington, Somerset was one of two sites in the area and was part of the woolen manufacturing ’empire’ of Fox Brothers & Co. now reinvented and relocated in the town of Wellington itself.

The factory is an incredible sight, and is “a near complete example of a 19th century cloth dyeing and finishing works”. Ideally, someone really needs to save these amazing machines before the weather, or worse, vandals/metal thieves have their “way” with them! How they’ve lasted this long is astonishing!

As we emerged in to the main manufacturing area of Tone Works, our mouths just dropped in awe. With a little imagination, you can envisage all these machines working, workmen pushing the vintage trolleys full of fabric around the factory, perhaps even with a pipe in their mouth!

Not much remains that ties this mill with Fox Brothers & Co. I couldn’t find any documentation or signage with their name on and the small office was extremely water damaged except for a lovely assortment of dated fabric samples, the oldest I could find labelled 1970.

Fox Brothers & Co. was established circa 1772, and created woolen garments for the military among others. Hopefully Tone Works will get the attention it needs from a trust or English Heritage. It’d be a shame for it all to just rot…

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Important, noteworthy & interesting comments are highlighted below

  1. Erica says:

    The Tone Works site, although spectacular, is absolutely filled with loose asbestos so please don’t go there at the moment.
    Good news is that there is work going on so this place will not be lost forever.

    1. Joanne says:

      Is this still the case?

  2. WS 560 says:

    What’s the site like today?

    Thinking of going very soon, any info or entrance points would be appreciated

    1. Rh says:

      Exactly the same! This and Tonedale Mill have not been touched internally.

    2. Muriel says:

      Hi all, how does it look like now? Is it still intact? It looks a great place for a photo shoot.

      I would appreciate any information including access. My email is

  3. Ness says:

    Hi guys, we went here today in the main acccessable part to scout for a photoshoot. Managed to see into an engine/pump room but no decent access. I have seen photos online of recent shoots here so was wondering if we were simply missing the ‘magic door’ 😉 any info would be fab

  4. Chris says:

    Unfortunately this is now being turned in to houses and has security guards 24/7

    1. A different Chris says:

      Scouted this location about 3 days ago to make sure it was still accessible before going for a night visit.

      Hasn’t been touched by construction at all. Didn’t have any security when we went.

      To anyone visiting. There is a… [** ADMIN – Don’t be discussing entry details in public, that’s how places get locked down. **]

      1. Steve says:

        Could you email me details of this site please, we last visited a year ago and there was security living on site after a fire.

      2. Ixi says:

        Hi Chris,

        I was planning on a photoshoot. Is it still open? Was going to go soon [** removed exact date **]

  5. Roman says:

    If anyone is interested in exploring some urban places message me, need a mate to come along

  6. Lauren says:

    Hi! I’d like to surprise my partner with a trip to a place like this, since we both love abandoned buildings – and this one really looks worth it! Is there still a lot of trouble with security? And where exactly is this? Thank you!

    1. John says:

      Hi Lauren.
      Hope you don’t mind the reply as yours was the last post and possibly the most recent visit.
      I am looking to get here and get some pics. It looks really photogenic.
      Could you send some info to directions etc
      Many thanks

      1. MKING says:

        You get to Fox Bros by turning left at the main-town traffic lights if coming from Exeter or turn right if from Taunton or Wellington M5 junction…

        Drive to “Tonedale” which is an area of Wellington 1.5 miles along that road (B3187) and keep looking to the left…

        The big mill building is 100m left when you see a grey-stone One-Stop that was once part of the main factory but the Tone Works is another half-a-mile along the same road (B3187) on the left: if you see a tile warehouse on the right you are opposite the entrance.

        On Google maps look for the river and pond at the lowest point on the road and back-up a bit….

  7. Garf says:

    I discovered the Tonedale mill but can’t find anything on Toneworks can anyone help? Need a bit of direction

  8. Beth says:

    I’m not sure whether it’s this mill or the other but to anyone who is thinking of going here or to the other one, be careful as my friends have informed me they’ve recently put cameras around the site of the mill(s) as my friends go here all the time and do shoots. Just go careful as wouldn’t want anyone to get into trouble for exploring such a beautiful place.

    1. Zak says:

      Thank you for the warning.

  9. noyemie says:


    My friend and I are planning to visit *****, could anyone give me the directions and best entrance to get there?
    I am hoping to use the location for a photoshoot for my scarf label.

    Look forward to hearing from you,

    1. Beth says:

      The easiest way to get there is to [*** removed ***]. If you’re local to the area, I may be free to help explore? Went there the other day and is well worth the visit! So want to go back as soon as I can! You’ll love it!

      1. The Urban Explorer says:

        Sorry for the censorship, but authorities (security, police etc.) do read this blog and announcing the point of entry in public will get noticed & it gives security the opportunity to seal entry points they may have missed. The best thing to do is continue this conversation in a private e-mail.

      2. Jake smith says:

        Hi, I am interested in visiting the abandoned mill and was wondering if you could fill me in on its location. Thanks, from an urban exploring friend.

      3. Elizabeth says:

        Hello Beth, I’m a local artist looking to explore abandoned buildings such as this one. Are you still interested in exploring this site or another one in the area?

        1. Beth says:

          Certainly Elizabeth! If you could give me an email on we can go about arranging something as I know a few good locations we can look into :)

      4. mark says:

        Hi Beth

        I’m looking for a way to have a photoshoot at the mill in Wellington if this email gets to you can you give me a heads up please.


  10. Charlotte says:

    Hey, went here a couple of weeks ago as I am fairly local, and we couldn’t find the wheel! Just wondering where it was as you’ve managed to get a photograph of it, we were searching for hours!

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      It’s right in the middle of the building, I would say you can’t miss it, but obviously you can! Haha!

    2. beau says:

      Hi Charlotte is it still easy to get in? They on about 2 mills down there do you know them if you email me at I have some pics of other sites

  11. Buncie says:

    Access may be possible now as local paper asking parents to keep their children out of the site. Some areas are dangerous – old floors over water!

  12. Jay says:

    This place is purely amazing so much to see and easy to locate. Took a little while to choose the right entrance and found a perfectly hidden one.

    1. barney says:

      Would love to go in. Which is the best way to get inside?

    2. AJ says:

      Care to share your way in? Me and a couple friends are going

      1. Sam says:

        Mail me for directions in, went in last weekend awesome place!

    3. Holly says:

      Could you please email access points. Not too sure if it’s as easy now as it was?

  13. Natasha Moss says:

    No pretty much the same, I would say

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Fantastic. Good news.

  14. Natasha Moss says:

    Went to this site today, it took a little finding but was well worth the search… Beautiful

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Ah, well done Natasha! Much change there from my photos?

  15. Ben Chivers says:

    Is this still undeveloped? Live locally & would like to attempt a visit.

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      I think you’ve answered that one yourself, Ben. If you live locally go check it out mate! It’s well worth the visit. I’d be down there all the time if I was local.

  16. Biko says:

    My daughter and I have just been to the old tone mill and tried to get in, we made it through the fence and was working out how to get in to explore, a security man came up to us before we could get in the building as we were about to scale a tall fence, he was Eastern European and told us we was not getting in, he said they have been watching us trying to get in and judging by the speed he got to us they were watching our every move. He said he’s been working as security there for five years, I asked to see his boss and he would not let me, he watched us until we left. (15/09.2014)

    Just a warning to anyone who wants to explore it like we did, you will unfortunatly be soon found there too as we were, at least we tried, good luck to other urban explorers, ps does anybody else know of anywhere else that we can explore? In the Taunton area?

    Thanks Niko

    1. The Urban Explorer says:

      Sounds like you need to be a bit more stealthy!

      1. Biko says:

        Stealth is my middle name, it’s the first time in 40 years I’ve been discovered on my explorations, I’ve traveled all over and found some fantastic places some fairly modern some long forgotton but this is like I said the first time I’ve been confronted, hard to be stealthy when it’s got guards watching live CCTV of the whole place, it probably changed since you were there last.

        1. The Urban Explorer says:

          Only pulling your leg. I was discovered at Tonedale Mill too. Tone Works is a different kettle of fish though – unless of course they’ve started developing there now?

        2. Bob says:

          Went in last weekend. Never been challenged or seen any secca. In fact the only person I saw there was a pikey coming out with a bag of swag!

          1. The Urban Explorer says:

            the only person I saw there was a pikey coming out with a bag of swag!

            That’s not good at all. Sometimes we rely on security to keep these places worth visiting! Has it changed much (in comparison with my photos) in your opinion?

  17. Smoods says:

    Whether your heart swells with hope for the future or tightens at the loss of the past – this is the new reality for Tone Mill and Works.

    Your pictures are an eloquent and timely reminder.

    1. Well that is a shame. I’m just glad I got to see it before the inevitable happened.

  18. Samantha says:

    I actually live in Wellington, I’ve always wondered what it was like inside however, I always heard that the security was so high the only way you could get in was by swimming in the river and going under the building itself, was it easy to get inside? And did you see any sign of security? Thanks :)

    1. Hahaha! That would be some entrance! But no, it’s not quite as ‘James Bond’ to gain access here. You should just go yourself and find out, I think you’d be surprised.

  19. Amy Aitchison says:

    Is this still there? I only live half hour away and I would love to go and have a look at it, your photos have really inspired me!

    1. I assume so, Amy.

      The recent flooding may have had an impact on that area but I’m not sure. There’s only one way to find out…

      1. LJC says:

        The mill was unaffected by recent flooding, and is unchanged since these images were taken.

  20. Laura says:

    Can I tell you how much I love the mailbox cubbies:
    Fox Brothers & Co. – Tone Mill, Devon 9
    Wonderful photo. I’d love to have a copy.

    1. Sure thing, I’ll send you a copy

      1. Sam says:

        Site update:

        I am local and a couple months ago it got out that a girl and her boyfriend were getting high in there and then she slipped and fell down the open spiral staircase.

        She fell at least 3 stories and shattered her spine and other bones.

        She is alive and I believe recovering however security has since been buffed up and there are builders actively working on the adjacent site who will evict trespassers.

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