A Grade II* Listed Building built in 1852, Combe Mill is the original sawmill and workshop of the Blenheim Palace Estate.
This working industrial museum, located between the villages of Combe and Long Hanborough in Oxfordshire, offers visitors a good insight into what work was like in Victorian times on a rural estate.
Power for the Mill was usually taken from the water wheel unless the River Evenlode was running too low to power the wheel.
When this happened, the steam engine was used as the power source until 1912. In the 1950s, electric power was brought to the mill, and the waterwheel became less important.
This site was the workshop for Blenheim Palace Estate and not just a timber mill. The original timber sawmill is at right angles to the museum building and is now office accommodation.
Upstairs in the Mill building was the pattern shop. Here skilled craftsmen made the patterns and moulds from which to cast the various iron objects needed by the estate.
Visitors can see several patterns for window frames and gear wheels. Carpenters, wood turners and wheelwrights also worked in the building, and some of their machinery and tools can be seen.
The mill machinery, including the forge blower and the whetstone, is located on the ground floor. There is a working forge where visitors have the opportunity to make their own fireplace pokers.
The mill is operated as a working hands-on museum by the Combe Mill Society, run entirely by unpaid volunteers. Income is derived from the sale of admission tickets, refreshments and souvenirs, and the occasional grant for various improvement projects.
A4095 Witney to Woodstock. In Long Hanborough, turn north for Combe. After crossing the river, you will find the mill turning on the left before the railway bridge.
The nearest station with a regular train service is Hanborough. From the station, it is a walk back into the village and then across fields to reach Combe Mill.
Combe Mill is open every Wednesday between April and October from 10.30am to 4.30pm, with the last admission at 3.30pm and is in steam on the third Sunday of those months. For Steaming Events, opening hours are 10.30am to 7.00pm.
Dogs are welcome inside the mill.
People aged 60+ are eligible for the concessionary rate.
A family discount is available.