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Lottery cash to bring Walford Mill back to former glory
A HISTORIC Wimborne landmark needs local support to bring its waterway back to life.
Walford Mill, built in the 18th century, will apply for funding to restore the overgrown millpond if it receives enough public backing.
A viewing platform could also be added to the site to show off the ancient mill.
Chief executive Christine Fletcher-Jones said: “Before we do anything, we want to make sure there is enough public support for the changes, so we’re asking people to get in touch with us.
“We want to know if they support the project, but more than that, we’d like to know why.
“We’d like to see what people think are the advantages of a project like this, and the disadvantages if it doesn’t happen too.”
There have been sightings of otters, water voles and other rare species at the mill, but Christine said the pond is in desperate need of restoration to maintain the natural habitat for wildlife.
She said: “In order for visitors to enjoy the millpond we would like to build a new viewing platform.
“This would allow visitors to see how the millpond fed into the millrace to feed two undershot wheels, which are now long-gone, for the first time ever. We want to give our visitors a real understanding of the building’s heritage.”
The building has a disused weir walkway, which is unsafe.
Christine said: “Building a new viewing platform to the side of the old concrete structure would provide, for the first time, a view of this historical feature and of the cleared millpond.”
There has been a mill at the site since 1582, and the pond, fed by the River Allen, has a history of its own.
Two children have drowned in the millpond over the centuries – one in 1688, the child of Mary and John Smith, and the miller’s son in 1740.
To have your say about the plans, e-mail Christine@walfordmillcrafts.co.uk, or send letters to Walford Mill Crafts, Stone Lane, Wimborne, BH21 1NL.
Letters should include your name, address and the date, as well as information on why the millpond should be restored and the benefits, losses and advantages it could bring.