Peter’s Mill Past and Present

Peter’s Mill 2020
Original ‘Peter’s Mill’ c.1901

The cottages at Bog Mill overlook this local beauty spot so I thought it would be interesting to share a little more about it’s history.

Although the original Water Mill has been long since razed to the ground the area is still very popular for walks and picnics with locals and visitors alike. Peter Eadington appears in records in 1841 as miller. He must have been a popular figure locally as the mill site is even now known as Peter Eadington’s Mill.
The mill was working until about 1920 but the building was demolished in 1925 as it was regarded as dangerous. The weir was removed in 1951 to assist land drainage.
From the evidence available there was a weir across the Aln and a leat taking the water to an undershot wheel. The mill had a square kiln with a perforated fireclay floor. Small pieces can still be seen lying around.

Peter was responsible for the original footbridge over the river beside the ford seen in the photo above. Originally there were also a set of stepping stones running alongside the bridge which were eventually replaced by stout concrete blocks.
For many years this was the route over the river for walkers. I have many memories of crossing those old concrete blocks, the gaps between feeling immense when I was just a small girl and literally having to leap from stone to stone. Many times tree trunks, other debris and the odd unlucky sheep would be washed down the river which we’d either have to climb over or my dad and I would haul these over the stones to keep the walkway clear.
During wetter months the river would be in flood rendering the stepping stones impassable under the fast flowing river. An old flood level post often recorded the river height as 14 foot or higher.

In 2004 the local council decided to replace these stepping stones with the bridge as we see it today. A far more practical solution, but I have got to admit I do miss the fun of those stepping stones and the opportunities now gone to watch unlucky individuals who would take a unplanned plunge into the surrounding chilly waters. Fortunately usually a pretty soft landing but a rather soggy walk home.

From: Griffith, E.P. 1972. A History of Northumberland Water Mills (unpublished)

Photos: Jenifer Friend

Where it all started

The Mason family Ann and Philip and their children Andrew, Paul and Rachel(me) moved to Bog Mill, Alnwick in around 1982. Much work followed with the renovation of the farmhouse into a habitable home and the conversion of the dilapidated buildings and surrounding land into a working small holding. My mum Ann was the farmer while my dad Philip went out to work during the day and helping every other available hour. My childhood memories of growing up at Bog Mill are filled with happy recollections of all the animals we looked after, rabbits, sheep, calves, dogs, cats, ducks, geese (still terrified of them to this day), chickens, goats to name but a few!

Around 1999 Ann and Philip found themselves alone at Bog Mill, all their children having flown the nest and decided it was time for their retirement from the day job and farming duties. So they embarked on a much bigger project, well actually sitting back and relaxing during retirement would never have suited my parents anyway!

The birth of Bog Mill Holiday Cottages was about to commence. Here are some photos from that time, as you will see my whole family were involved.

Not much left of the Byre at this point
My brother Paul and his wife Pauline get hands on with the conversion
Ann mixing and carrying the morter
Philip bought himself a new toy to help with the conversion
Those beautiful original archways celebrated
The Byre windows going in
The roof goes on
My brother Andrew and his wife Lesley working hard
Drains going in

To Cragside via Middle Earth

Enjoyed a day out today that I regularly recommend to guests, a trip across to Cragside to see the famous Rhododendrons in full bloom – and truly beautiful they were too. Miles upon miles of these bright pink flowers along both sides of the 6 mile carriage drive and also around  Nelly’s Moss lake, where we enjoyed a walk with our six year old and her best friend.

Rhododendrons

Although we didn’t visit the house today as it was just too sunny to go inside, it is well worth a visit if you get the chance. A trip through the kitchens always reminds me of growing up at Bog Mill and the old range fire that dominated our front room, a similar one to that seen in Cragside kitchen. Their bathroom though does slightly have the edge on ours.

My very favourite part of the trip though is always the journey from Alnwick to Rothbury, the most spectacular view from Corby Crags. Demonstrated by the same view used in the publicity posters for the film The Hobbit. Though didn’t spot Gandolph as we passed today.

Northumberland

The Stable -test run

Alice enjoying her first meal in the Stable

Well they say the best way to really test the user experience in your holiday cottage is to give it a go for yourself. So this week Alice and I packed our bag and made the long journey (approx 3 minutes door to door) to the Stable cottage for the night. Actually the proximity didn’t really matter because once we shut that door we might as well have been far away because Alice screamed ‘we are on holiday!’ and the mood was set.

We had come armed with our pizza and a tipple of choice so set about testing the facilities. Never having ‘cooked on gas’ before I was interested to see how it would compare to my home fan oven but judging from the nicely toasted pizza I can say it was a success. The integrated dishwasher was a definite bonus as clearing away was done in a trice leaving the kitchen spotless and ready for the next meal.

For our evenings entertainment we had a choice of activities. Provided in the Stable¬† are a range of children’s dvds, a Roku stick allowing full to digital services including Netflix (by signing in on our own contract) or an XBox 360 with a selection of games. Alice’s choice for the evening was a dvd so a trip to Madagascar for the evening had us laughing all the way up to Alice’s bedtime.

Alice opted to try out the magnificent four poster bed, and who could blame her with its pocket sprung mattress and upper memory foam layer this bed was built for comfort as well as style and a great nights sleep was enjoyed- at least until 6.30am.

The early start to the day did give us the opportunity to try out some more of the Stables facilities. Opening the kitchen blind as dawn broke provided a beautiful view of the River and sheep grazing peacefully on the other side was lovely to see. 

View from kitchen window

We had brought Bunny shaped Crumpets for our breakfast and luckily I had remembered to pack plenty of butter to enjoy these, but of course being clumsy me I managed to drop a jar right on top of two of the side plates chipping them both ūüôĄ. I will be off to the shops this morning luckily these pieces are for sale individually in Alnwick so any breakages are quickly and easily replaced- a real advantage as accidents do happen (to me anyway!) but shouldn’t cause any upset whilst on holiday.

After breakfast Alice raided the shelf load of family games and Hungry Hippos was the game of choice, family trivial pursuit and a jigsaw followed- and all of this before 8am! 

Once showered and dressed we decided as we were on our holidays then a trip to the beach was the activity of choice for the day so heading off from the cottage just 3 miles east took us to Alnmouth Southside beach, the far quieter option than Alnmouth village but watch your car, the track down is really only suitable for 4x4s but the half mile walk is definitely worth it if you are able.

Alnmouth south side

A grand day out- Newcastle Quayside

Just a 20 minute train ride away from Alnmouth Station will take you right into the centre of Newcastle. If you fancy a break from the countryside for a day then I’d highly recommend the trip. Ian and I popped through this weekend to take in some culture and a trip to see some modern art at the Baltic gallery didn’t disappoint- confused us admittedly, but think that’s what it’s supposed to do isn’t it???

¬†A stroll up from the Quayside into the centre of Newcastle is worth the effort, not just to get to John Lewis but the surrounding architecture never fails to impress, and see if you can spot which bits have started in recent films.¬† One of my favourite Streets is Grainger Street where Grey’s monument stands proud and central, and the latest Transformers movie was filmed here- after they had finished filming in Alnwick of course.

The Stable almost finished

That moment I’ve been waiting for for what seems like an age finally happened today. I photographed the first room totally finished in the Stable cottage and what a picture it is! Love, hard work and a great deal of thought have come together to make this bee-utiful bedroom.

An L shaped, initially uninspiring room has been transformed into a stylish, cosy and welcoming double bedroom with 5 drawer chest, triple mirrored glass wardrobe and dressing table and chair. Feature lighting and cosy rugs complete the space. 

Fingers crossed for more photos of completed rooms tomorrow, first guests check in Friday. Hope they enjoy.

Bookings being taken now for short breaks throughout winter and spring, weekly bookings with Saturday changeover from Easter.

Introducing ‘The Stable’

The Stable, with it’s large patio doors opening onto paved area overlooking the River Aln. Wheelchair friendly open plan lounge/dining area, ground floor double bedroom, twin mezzanine bedroom, brand new fully fitted kitchen and new fixtures and fittings throughout, the Stable is set to be a rival for my affections for favourite cottage. This, the third and final cottage at Bog Mill is set to open to the holiday cottage market in the next few weeks.

Work is well under way in renovating the Stable, as my painting arm will testify! So many beams certainly make for a spectacular ceiling but having to paint each panel does mean a lots of cutting in edges, will be really glad to finish the painting I must admit, even if the view from up there is pretty spectacular.

The brand new kitchen is being fitted next week, choosing that has been an exciting challenge and hopefully I’ve got it right, will post photos as soon as I can and you can tell me what you think. The new furniture continues to be chosen, purchased and delivered so should all be in place within the next few weeks, bookings being taken now from end of November onwards, so if you fancy being one of the first guests to try this stunning new cottage get in touch. Can’t wait to welcome the Stable’s first guests.

The Apple Core, Lucker

Our next foray into exploring the eateries of the area took us roughly ten miles up the road to the small village of Lucker. I’d heard good things about a newly reopened restaurant and pub in this tiny village and felt it was time to try it out for ourselves.

On arriving at the Apple Core I was suitably impressed by the ‘kerb appeal’ of the Apple Core eatery situated opposite it’s sister pub The Apple Inn, clearly newly renovated and and clean modern feel to the building which extended to the interior on entering the building. A large open plan restaurant with open kitchen and small bar area. Advertised as a Pizzeria and Creperie although it was clear from the menu that they offered much more besides. I was particularly tempted by the¬†Mixed Seafood Burger-Hake, Coley & Salmon Burger, Chilli Tempura King Prawn, Avocado & Spiced Tomato Relish, Fresh Leaf Salad and Fries, or indeed the¬†Pan Roast Duck Breast Sweet Potato Fondant, Trilogy of Baby Vegetables, Caramelised Baby Apples,Bretagne Cider Reduction. But it was the Pizza which I had been looking forward to, my initial choice was the¬†FORMAG

GIO di CAPRA-Mozzarella Base, Spinach, Red Onion, Sun-dried Tomatoes & Goats Cheese,topped with Balsamic Glaze but as this was also Ian’s choice, and I have a personal rule that I can’t have the same option as him so I went for my other personal favourite the¬†PICANTE-Tomato, Mozzarella, Pepperoni, Jalape√Īos, Chilli Flakes & Fresh Chillies which didn’t disappoint, but I must admit Ian’s choice did look fantastic and his unwillingness to share did lead me to believe he had got the best option on this occasion, maybe I’ll have to change my unwritten rule if he keeps this good choice habit up!

Now we couldn’t leave the Apple Core without sampling one of their wonderful crepes, our table was situated right beside the open kitchen and all evening these delightful creations had been being prepared and passed before us. I opted for the Caramelised Banana and Alnwick Rum crepe which was served with a small jug of pouring cream and Ian went for the Raspberry and White Chocolate option, suffice to say neither of us was left disappointed.

Reflecting back on our overall meal experience I have to say the decor and quality of food really made the evening for me. However I did feel slightly let down in the hosting. The table next to us had a blond female waitress and eves dropping on their conversation left me a little jealous, she, I felt had it just right lively chats and a real warmth in their table chat, for us however although the man serving us was absolutely polite and efficient I did feel a complete lack of interaction whatsoever other than asking our menu choices was little unsociable.

In conclusion I would very much recommend the Apple Core but if you get the option see if you can get the slightly older blond waitress as I think it will make your evening a far more relaxed and enjoyable one.