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The Pembrokeshire Tourism Blog

Celebrate National Mills Weekend with a visit to Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire Tourism - Friday, May 05, 2017
Celebrate National Mills Weekend with a visit to Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire isn’t just glorious coastal views and countryside. It has an important industrial heritage just waiting to be discovered. Step back a few decades and much of Britain’s industry was powered by mills – wind mills and water mills. Here in Pembrokeshire, where weaving woollen fabrics was an important part of the local economy, water power was big. Fortunately, the modern industrial age has not completely wiped out our water mills, nor our traditional weaving industry.
National Mills Weekend takes place on 13th & 14th May 2017 and is designed to encourage people to visit the mills that are dotted around the countryside across Great Britain – not all of which are usually open to the public.
Pembrokeshire Mills
As we’ve already mentioned, Pembrokeshire is home to a number of mills, the power behind the weaving industry, producing beautiful and distinctive Welsh cloth, and also used for milling grains into flour. Although many of our mills have fallen into disrepair, there’s a growing movement keen to renovate and restore these beautiful buildings, and to return them to working order. As well as providing a valuable insight into how life used to be before the widespread availability of electricity and other technologies, there’s something very magical about watching mill wheels turn, and absorbing the sounds and the smells of our industrial heritage.

Mills open in Pembrokeshire for National Mills Weekend
A number of Pembrokeshire’s mills are open for National Mills Weekend – why not take a day out, pack up a picnic (or enjoy on site or local cafes) and explore this distinctive aspect of our county’s past?

Melin Tregwynt, Castlemorris

Just off the A487 between Fishguard and St Davids, there’s been a mill here since the 17th Century, and has been owned by the same family since 1912. Melin Tregwynt specialises in producing ‘doublecloth’ – a hardwearing double layered fabric – woven in distinctive colours and designs reminiscent of traditional Welsh weaving designs, yet with a contemporary feel. The mill is open over National Mills Weekend on Saturday (10-5) and on Sunday (11-4.30). Although the mill doesn’t work on the weekends, you’ll be able to see the workshop, the looms that are used today and the iconic mill wheel. There’s a café serving coffee and good food.

Y Felin, St Dogmaels
In the heart of St Dogmaels, Y Felin is a working watermill, producing stoneground flours which are available to purchase. There’s been a mill on the site for centuries, although the latest incarnation dates back to the late 18th/early 19th century and was restored in the 1980s by the current owners. Enjoy a guided tour taking in the kiln and 3 pairs of stones, and the mill pond and if you’ve time, stroll over to St Dogmaels Abbey. Y Felin is open on National Mills Weekend 10-1p.m. and 2-5 p.m. both days.

Carew Mill. Photo credit: Darwin Centre

Carew Tidal Mill, Carew
Now the only restored tidal mill in Wales, and one of only 5 in the UK, Carew Tidal Mill has been fully restored to working order although does not currently operate. It was built in the 1800s to grind corn – one of the mill wheels bears the date 1801. The history of the mill is inevitably tied in to that of Carew Castle, although the precise origins of the mill are not known. Visitors can take in the restored machinery, audio commentary and interactive displays, and enjoy an ice cream. If you want to make a day of it, the causeway outside the mill is reputed to be one of the best crabbing spots in Pembrokeshire – and of course, there’s Carew Castle nearby. Carew Tidal Mill is open to visitors on National Mills Weekend on Saturday and Sunday 10- 4.30 p.m and is dog friendly.

Other mills to explore in Pembrokeshire

The water wheel at Solva Woolen Mill

Solva Woollen Mill, Solva
Although not open for National Mills Weekend, the mill is a fantastic place to visit. Situated a mile up the valley from the picturesque coastal village of Solva. It’s the oldest working woollen mill in Pembrokeshire, and has been weaving continuously since 1907, specialising in rugs and runners made from British wool. Certainly well worth a visit at any time of year.

Roch Mill

Roch Mill, just outside Roch near Haverfordwest, was last used as a flour mill in 1953, although the machinery is still intact and the mill itself is being renovated. The water wheel was reinstated in 2009. Roch Mill isn’t open to the public on National Mills Weekend but it’s worth finding out more about its fascinating history.

Useful information National Mills Weekend
Melin Tregwynt
Y Felin
Carew Tidal Mill
Solva Woollen Mill
Roch Mill
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