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Keep warm with the New Year Steam Up at Coldharbour Mill

Coldharbour Mill is a fascinating place to visit at any time of the year but the fire up days are few and far between. This is when it really is full steam ahead so if you are going to pay a visit to the mill then this is definitely the time to do it.
Coldharbour Mill can be found in the Devon village of Uffculme and is an extremely rare example of a working mill. It gives visitors a real taste of exactly what working life was like back in the 18th and 19th centuries, especially on the New Year Steam Up Day.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Coldharbour Mill is learning about the working conditions that the employees worked under. It brings to life the interesting Quaker movement and the fact that a large proportion of the workers at Coldharbour Mill were children.

Coldharbour Mill’s New Year Steam Up

One particular highlight of the Coldharbour Mill calendar is the New Year Steam Up which attracts visitors from far and wide. Just in case you are wondering what it is all about, it is a day when all of the mill’s power sources are running. Visitors get the chance to watch as the engines and boilers are fired up to power the still impressive looking machinery which was used to run the mill when it was working at full capacity.

Don’t forget the ear muffs!

Bearing in mind that some visitors may be feeling a little on the fragile side after the New Year celebrations, it is worth noting that once these machines are fired up it can get very noisy indeed. Be prepared; perhaps stand back a little, because the loudness of the machinery can be quite a severe shock to the system, especially for the unprepared.

A visit to the licensed café at Coldharbour Mill should most definitely be incorporated within the visit because it really is very good indeed. Don’t expect an à la carte menu, just good wholesome cooking. It will set you up ready to explore everything else that the Mill has to offer, such as the museum, the shop and the various exhibitions that are usually taking place.

The New Year’s Day Steam Up at Coldharbour Mill takes place between 11am and 4pm and once the event is over there isn’t a great deal to do, especially at this time of the year. It is therefore best to just enjoy Coldharbour Mill and all that it has to offer as opposed to rushing around with the intention of moving on somewhere else.

Spining a yearn at Coldharbour Mill

It should be mentioned that the Coldharbour Mill still produces worsted knitting yarn on the original machinery. The end products are for sale in the mill shop and are actually surprisingly good value for money.

It may be a common assumption that to make the most out of the Coldharbour Mill Steam Day you would have to be one of those types who are fascinated by all things steam and machinery but that certainly is not the case. Families with children, couples and anyone with an interest in industrial history will certainly enjoy the experience.

This mill is a stark reminder of what life really was like back in Victorian times. The surroundings and smell of the machinery will transport visitors of all ages back in time, as if they were about to embark on a very hard day’s work. I would sum up New Year’s Day Steam Up at Coldharbour Mill in Uffculme as a very enjoyable day out for the whole family.

Have you visited Coldharbour Mill or experienced the Coldharbour Mill New Year Steam Up? What did you enjoy about it? There are also ‘steam up’ days held at mills all over the country. Perhaps you know of another event which will appeal to the whole family – do share your knowledge with us…

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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