The historic Cotswold buildings of Baker’s Mill, Twissel’s Mill and Silk Mill lie next to the Thames and Severn Canal forming part of the unique heritage of of the upper Stroud Valley. Mentioned in the Doomsday Book, Baker’s Mill is of outstanding interest. Originally harnessing waterpower to grind corn, it was used to spin Cotswold wool and silk when the industrial revolution came to the Stroud Valley. You can still find teasels originally grown for teasing the wool in this area of outstanding national beauty. The yarn was dyed and woven into cloth for military uniforms in the terraced villages of Oakridge and Chalford nearby.
Martin Neville was presented with a prestigious award by FWAG for his conservation of wetlands on the Grade II listed property. He spent fifty years labouring tirelessly to preserve the unique national heritage site characterized by a series of Georgian tunnels, sluice gates and cascades that are of special interest to water engineers, attracting visitors from Holland, Germany, Belgium, USA and South Africa to the Golden Valley.
The Neville family have been personally showing members of the public around Bakers Mill since 1982. The water gardens are open on both weekends and weekdays throughout the year when you can feed the resident waterfowl and meet Rudi the otter in a woodland enclosure opened by HRH Princess Michael of Kent.
If you would like to visit this site of historic and scientific interest, please leave a message in the comments below or contact us here. There is free parking available and easy, dog-friendly access from footpaths. It lies between Cirencester and Stroud below the Great Western Railway from London built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel around 1850 and is a fascinating two-hour walk along the Thames and Severn Canal towpath from Stroud Railway Station.
The main stone-roofed Cotswold stone building, with it’s wooden spiral staircases and mullioned windows, dates from 1501 and has been used as film locations in dramas such as ‘The House of Elliot’, ‘Dark Secret’, ‘Cold Caller’ and ‘Arthur of the Britons’, along with popular television serials such as ‘Come Dine With Me’, ‘Obsessive Compulsive’ and ‘Newshound’. Nature programmes filmed on the property include ‘The Durrells’, ‘Animal Magic’, ‘Really Wild Show’, ‘Pet Nation’, ‘Velvet Claw’ and ‘A Day in the Life of the Otter’.
Whilst being of specific interest to industrial archaeologists the property is often used for professional photo-shoots, by sculptors and groups of artists.
Associations are welcome to bring parties for talks. The Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology, Wiltshire Wildlife, Gloucestershire Wildlife, Worcestershire Wildlife, The Ramblers, The Canal Trust, Cirencester University, The Arthur Ransome Society and walking groups regularly visit Bakers Mill, exploring the environs of the River Frome and impressive canal locks dating from 1786. It is ideal for walkers as there is access from the popular Thames and Severn towpath and Cotswold footpaths taking you through the beech woodlands to the popular Crown Inn and The Bell at Sapperton beyond the Daneway Tunnel.
Please wear suitable footwear and rain-gear as outdoor talks are given whatever the weather. Please contact the Nevilles in advance for a risk assessment form and make a booking here. The waterworks are unfenced so children need to be supervised.
There were once 200 water mills in the Stroud Valley