Orford Mill was built in 1835 and was known as Town Mills. The buildings comprised a grain mill, a saw mill, manor house and farm buildings. Lord Rolle built three mills in Devon including the bridge that adjoins the Mill. Orford Mill is the only Mill now left standing. The Rolle canal ran through the grounds, allowing sawn timber to be loaded directly onto barges, and also to take delivery of newly cut timber from the woodlands further along the canal.
It was a working mill until approximately 1935 when the mill ceased operating and the buildings began to decline. The overshot wheel that once powered the wood mill was replaced by a water powered turbine which proved to be inadequate and the Mill ceased to operate. It was subsequently opened as a hotel in about 1963 and operated as a hotel and restaurant until 1990 when it was converted into self-contained holiday cottages. The area is famous for being the setting of Henry Williamson’s famous book “Tarka the Otter” and it is from creatures and places in the book that our cottages are named. Town Mills has its own chapter in the book where Tarka hid in the mill wheel from the hound Deadlock. Otter hunting was a popular sport in the early 20th century and the following photo shows the hunters gathered on the bridge where they could watch for an otter in the river below.
At one time, the building was castellated all the way round, as the following photos show. Finally the oval picture shows the local postman taking a short cut through the fields.
Gallery Of Images
Angela and Richard Cooper
Orford Mill Holiday Cottages
Tel/Fax: 01805 622114