The Capper Nomads Europe Adventure travel blog

Clocking In

Spinning Frame


Warping Creel


Steam Engine door

Coldharbour Mill

Looking down from the mill

Knightshayes House

The main entrance to the house

Looking down from the terrace

The terrace


The outside in garden

In the Kichen garden

The turret in the walled garden

Carrot willow sculpture

The carrige house

Formal garden

Along the terrace

The house from the side


Garden in the Wood

Another Garden in the Wood view


In the woodland

Willow sculpture in the wood

Willow horse

Willow lizard

Toby dogs

Although the weather was not very good we headed out via the Devon lanes to Coldharbour Mill.

In 1797 a Thomas Fox purchased the then grist mill together with the water course and 15 acres of land in the small village of Uffculme. On the site he built by 1799 a wool mill incorporating the latest technology of the industrial revolution- the spinning jennies. Prior to this time spinning and weaving had been carried out in local cottages.

Over the years the mill underwent considerable modification both in the building and the machines used. By the mid 19th century, power looms were common and the mill had moved from spinning wool to a stronger worsted process yarn.

The mill continued working until 1981.

Our tour took us through the mill with volunteers showing and explaining the various processes. We also learnt about the harsh working conditions of the workers, mainly young girls and children. It was an interesting visit.

The weather looked as if it might improve so we decided to visit Knightshayes Court just north of Tiverton. The estate was built and owned by the Heathcoat-Amory family until 1973 when it came into the ownership of the National Trust. The Heathcoat-Amory family fortune came from John Heathcott who designed and patented a machine that revolutionised the production of lace. After his factory was destroyed in the northern Luddite revolt of 1816 he moved to Tiverton and set up a new factory and by the end of the 19th century was the largest lace producing manufacturer in the world.

As it was still a bit wet we visited the house first. From the outside the house looks like a Gothic castle. In fact it was built between 1869 and 1874. The house was commissioned by John Heathcott grandson Sir John Heathcoat-Amory. The original design was by William Burges however Sir John objected to Burges designs both on grounds of cost and style and resulted in him being sacked in 1874 before the interior was completed He was replaced by John Dibblee Crace. Again it was not a happy relationship. The house is a mixture of both designers and was fascinating to see the contrasts in designs.

As we completed our tour of the house the sun started to shine at last so after a cup of tea and a cake we explored first the magnificent walled kitchen garden. This recently restored kitchen garden had a whole range of fruit and vegetable plants, all grown organically. We purchased some early rhubarb.

We then explored the other gardens and particularly enjoyed the “Garden in the Woods” which was in its spring splendour. There was also around the grounds willow sculptures of various animals which were lovely

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