Peterborough Watermill wins Heritage Lottery Fund Support!

The exterior of the Watermill and Mill House in summerSacrewell Farm & Country Centre, situated just a short drive from Peterborough city centre, has been successful in receiving initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the restoration of its nationally significant 18th century watermill.

This HLF first-round pass*, including development funding of £78,500 has been awarded to Sacrewell Farm, part of The William Scott Abbott Trust, to progress plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The aims of the project are to conserve and restore the Grade II* watermill so it can be used as both an educational resource and a source of enjoyment for the local community. The scheme will protect and enhance a nationally significant and locally valued heritage asset and educational facility.

“All the staff and volunteers at Sacrewell are absolutely delighted to receive support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure the future of the watermill,” explains Mike Rooney, General Manager of Sacrewell Farm.   

Mike went on to say, “We have always known that the building is a vital resource, not only to the site but to the local community. It is definitely an undiscovered treasure. The watermill is one of only a few surviving examples and if it had been allowed to fall into disrepair or even to cease working it would have been a massive loss to the community. This funding will help preserve the watermill for future generations to discover and enjoy.”

As one of only a few remaining fully functioning watermills of its age, and because of the complete and visible nature of the machinery, one of the other aims of the project is to use the site as a centre of excellence for watermill-based training.

The opportunity has also been realised for a hydroelectric generator to be installed in one of the redundant wheelhouses to demonstrate old and new methods of utilising water for power generation. This sustainable scheme will provide clean, renewable energy and will enable visitors to learn more about this new technology.

Alice Kershaw, Peterborough’s Heritage Regeneration Officer, adds: “As a Grade II* listed building Sacrewell watermill is one of Peterborough’s most important buildings, it is of national importance and has a special interest. The beautiful 18th century building with a fascinating watermill in working order, with a watermill onsite possibly since the 10th century, has real cultural importance locally, with land girls being stationed there and generations of young people visiting the farm as a visitor attraction. This first round pass will allow Sacrewell to work up a really exciting project, with educational and conservation opportunities for the local community.”   

Don’t miss your chance to visit the watermill before work begins. On 2nd-3rd June there will be a Milling & Bread Making Weekend where visitors can discover the story of how the bread we eat is produced from wheat grown in the ground. The weekend is very hands-on with demonstrations of traditional methods used for hundreds of years. 

Sacrewell Farm is located just off the A1/A47 near Peterborough. Sacrewell Farm & Country Centre, Thornhaugh, Peterborough PE8 6HJ. For more information, visit