Sunday, 6 February 2011

Little Salkeld Watermill

What fun we had here! We stumbled across it by chance. Tempers were becoming frayed as we were lost and had spent what felt like an age driving around the fells of Penrith. We were hungry, frazzled and in need of sustenance. Thankfully we pulled in here and were in for a treat.

The cafe sold the most delicious bread and cakes I have come across - using flour they had milled and baked on the premises. It was ever so small and quaint with a large log burner in the corner and lovely views over the stream driving the watermill. The only downside was the price, although having said that it was a high price for very high quality grub - sometimes you pay top notch and the food is horrid.

As well as exploring the outer workings of the mill we had really enjoyed checking out their various poultry breeds which were wandering about the place. Hermione fell in love with their big Buff Orprington and is now waiting for our local poultry breeder to be able to sex her last clutch of Buff Orps before one heads our way. Apparently they are more difficult to sex than many breeds so we probably won't take one till it is about twenty weeks - I'm not chancing a cockerel!

We also stumbled across an earthen oven outside. I would love to be there in summer when they bake bread in it. I suspect it has a very distinct flavour. It made me think back to when we joined in a clay oven baking day a couple of years ago. It was fab.

For me, the rather steep prices of the cafe were off set by the beauty of the place and also the friendly miller who showed us around free of charge. He was very patient with the children as he guided us through his flour covered milling area. Look at the steps and tops of the handrail below!

We got to see the water wheel being started up, the grain going in, the flour coming out and the area where it would be bagged. The children got to mill some flour by hand and marvel at how rough the hand ground stuff was in comparison to the stuff that came out of the watermill.

Certainly worth a visit.

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