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SPAB – Mill of Benholm Working Party

4 May - 10:00 - 16:00


Saturday 4 May, 10am – 4pm, with the option to camp.

This is a rare chance to be part of a team helping to bring a Scottish watermill out of hibernation. The mill has been dormant for over a decade, but was in working order before being mothballed by the local council.

A group of local volunteers, Mill of Benholm Enterprise, are in the process of taking on the site and have big plans for running the mill in future. The mill buildings are in good shape, but the grounds and vital water supply to the mill have become very overgrown and impede the use of the mill.

Together we will fix that by clearing vegetation out of the lade channel and returning that much-needed water supply to the mill.

It is important that this work happens now, in the springtime, before there is a further year of growth on plants, and while vegetation levels are relatively low. It’s also hopefully a good time of year to be enjoying the spring sunshine in a gorgeous setting by the pair of little rivers that power the mill.

We will also be joined by 2022 SPAB Millwright Fellow Owen Bushell, who will give an introduction to the mill machinery: how it works, what it’s all for, and how it can be brought back into life to get the wheels turning once more. Owen will be very happy to take any questions you have about the building and process.

This event is an opportunity to see firsthand some of the difficulties in bringing a site back into use after many years of neglect. You will leave with an appreciation of Scottish watermills, and an understanding of how the landscape contributes to the successful running of a mill.

Who is this event for?

This event is perfect for those wanting to get their hands dirty and their feet wet, while learning about a niche heritage building.

The event will involve:

  • A tour of the grounds with Trustees of the Mill of Benholm Enterprise
  • A talk from 2022 SPAB Millwright Fellow Owen Bushell, who will explain how the mill machinery works, what it’s all for, and how it can be brought back to life to get the wheels turning once more
  • Clearing of the lade to return the water supply to the mill: cutting turfs out of the lade, transporting them using a wheelbarrow, cutting back trees and undergrowth with loppers where needed


The event starts at 10am and work finishes at 4pm. You’re welcome to join us for an informal BBQ afterwards – a lovely opportunity for a rest and more casual chats with your fellow participants. Bring your own sausages!

Camping is available onsite for Friday and Saturday nights if you would like, at no extra charge. If you are planning to camp, you can arrive from 5pm on Friday 3 May.

You will need to bring:

  • Wellington boots, waterproof trousers, warm clothing, spare boots/shoes (walking or warm boots, site boots not required)
  • A spade (optional)
  • Snacks, plus breakfast if camping, and BBQ food if you’re staying for the BBQ on Saturday
  • A tent, sleeping bag and camping equipment, if camping

We will provide:

  • Work gloves and hi vis vests
  • Wheelbarrows and other tools
  • Lunch on Saturday (please let us know any dietary requirements when booking)
  • A BBQ, lit and ready for you to cook your own food on Friday and Saturday evening
  • A kettle, toaster, microwave and fridge
  • Toilets and hot water (but no showers)



Most of this event will be outside, although there is shelter in the mill buildings if the weather is terrible.

This event involves a lot of physical activity so you need to be reasonably fit. You will be climbing in and out of the lade, standing in water, and lifting plants and earth with a spade or by hand. The path to the area we are working on is a rough woodland path; there are no handrails and it may be slippery or muddy depending on recent weather.

Anything we can do to make this event more accessible for you? Please email scotland@spab.org.uk.




Mill of Benholm Benholm, DD10 0HT, Montrose
Mill of Benholm Benholm, DD10 0HT, Montrose + Google Map

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