A partnership between the Woodland Trust and the National Trust

Fingle Mill Revealed

Before we can start excavations at the Fingle Mill the remains have to be stabilised. The first step in this process is removing the vegetation so the condition can be accessed. On Monday this clearance started, Steve (our archaeology intern) sent us this update from site yesterday evening.

Hello all, it is day two of the Fingle Mill vegetation clearance and the project is off to a flying start. It’s been a real team effort with our Fingle volunteers joined by ACE Archaeology Society and students from the Prince’s Trust. Two days into the project the clearance is making a huge difference to the appearance of the site and long term future of the existing buildings.

Some of the day 1 team assembled for morning tea.

The challenge begins – the walls are dense with vegetation!

Somewhere under this lot is a mill house, the team certainly has their work cut out!

The leat and tail-race are thick with holly and trees.


By the middle of day 1 walls were already becoming visible, the tracks were free of holly and some heart-in-mouth tree felling (see below) had been successfully executed.


This was the moment when everyone on the site was holding their breath. Fortunately some well-placed straps and precision sawing by Fred meant the mill is still standing, phew!

Walls are starting to emerge after some hard graft by all.

…and serious amounts of holly have been cut.


As  day 1 came to an end the site was looking much more like a mill complex. The pace didn’t slow on day 2 as we were joined by students from the Prince’s Trust who cleared huge amounts of holly from the leat and tail-race in super-fast time.


The Prince’s Trust hard at work in the leat.

The day 1 team did an amazing job of swiftly removing the overhanging vegetation and holly.

Day 2 team stopped for lunch.

Features once hidden under vegetation are emerging; the grooves on the right might be related to the fulling stocks.

The extent of damage to the structures becomes much easier to assess after a good cropping back.

The remains of the mill’s machinery start to appear among the foliage.

Even our site manager looks exhausted!


So I want to say a massive thank you to everybody who has attended so far, your efforts mean that Fingle Mill will still be around for future generations to enjoy and will help bring about a better understanding of the site and of Fingle Wood  as a whole. I am really excited at how quickly this has come together and the already spectacular progress, watch this space for more updates through the week.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.