THE Mill in Bishops Lydeard has re-opened following two years of lockdown and Alan Reeve has been to check it out.

The attraction in Mill Lane goes back some 400 years.

A mill on this site was listed in the Domesday Book, over 1,000 years ago, when medieval residents diverted a stream to create energy to grind local wheat into flour for bread.

The present building is 17th Century and consists of a mill with the miller's house attached.

The mill served the village and its bakers until the late 1950s, when supermarkets overtook local bakeries.

After closure it remained empty for years before being acquired by builder Charlie Back.

He and his wife Yvonne renovated the house to become their own home.

Then Charlie turned his attention to the Mill to re-create this wonderful piece of Bishops Lydeard heritage.

He added to the Mill restoration many heritage items from the local area and it now features artefacts and displays that bring local history to life.

As you enter the garden your attention is gripped by a gypsy caravan and Victorian haywain, while behind the house lurks a Royal Mail coach that plied between London and York 200 years ago.

Elsewhere are a Welsh coracle, a Model T Ford car, an undertaker's bier, a shepherd's hut and many other items of mobility.

The Mill equipment has been carefully restored. The external water wheel and the beam which drives the Mill were totally renewed.

There is plenty of information about the milling process and many set pieces of life and work in past years such as a thatcher at work, a cooper repairing his casks, a blacksmith, an ironmonger, a Victorian kitchen and a Second World War scene of a boy with a gas mask, his mother and an air raid warden.

Also on the site is a small tea room offering warm baps, tasty scones, tea, coffee, soft drinks, ice creams and much more.

All this has been created by the owners' love and enthusiasm, and although there are admission fees they do not take a penny from the Mill's visitors.

All of the entry proceeds are donated to five local charities, which provide the stewards for the Mill reception.

The Mill is open to the public from 10.30am to 4pm daily except Mondays and Saturdays. It also opens on Saturdays in August.