Exploring the flint mill in Cheddleton

Written on September 17, 2014

Since moving back to the UK from South Africa I've been living in the lovely village of Cheddleton, Staffordshire, which is one of the largest villages in the UK and is also a pretty popular destination for walkers.

I recently paid a visit to Cheddleton Flint Mill which is a Grade II listed water mill located on the Caldon Canal and is operated by the Cheddleton Flint Mill Industrial Heritage Trust. The flint mill was used to grind flint which was then used in the pottery industry.

The earliest date recorded for milling in Cheddleton is 1253 and it was also recorded as being used to grind corn in 1694. It was turned into a flint mill at the end of the 18th century.

Now it serves as a museum where you can learn about the processes involved and give you an understanding of the historical and technical background.

The Mill and cottage

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 00.30.32The two mills and a waterwheel, the other waterwheel is located out of view just behind the chimney. Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 00.29.51Mill and millers cottage, both are explorable. I’m fascinated by old houses especially when they are still decorated in their original style. Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 00.29.25South Mill upstairs. I stood on the stairs to photograph the room at eye level and to give the camera a little bit of support so I could get away with using a low ISO and slower shutter speed.

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Just one of the many original pieces of equipment to see/photograph. I used a couple of cross processing presets in Lightroom to add the blue tint to the image.

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North mill waterwheel on which I used a sepia preset in Lightroom to give it an aged appearance. Even though I decided to use presets in my post processing this time I do the majority of the editing manually.

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Plenty of details to capture in the kitchen of the millers cottage.

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Movement of waterwheel using a slow shutterspeed. 1/15 second at f8 and ISO 500.

Details of machinary

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High ISO’s or slow shutterspeeds are a must here so a tripod would come in handy. I didn’t take a tripod this time but I find that my camera copes quite well with a high ISO. I also wanted to capture some of the movement of the machinery which are active during opening hours.

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I can’t remember what kind of lighting was used in parts of the mill but it had an orange glow. This can be fixed in post processing but I liked to keep it.

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Getting a full frame shot is quite tricky in low light situations.

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There is also plenty to see if you look up.

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There is a horizonal steam engine in the museum which came from Minton’s Pottery Works in Stoke on Trent. The Cheddleton mill was powered by water but this is another example of how mills were powered in the past.

Nature

When you visit the flint mill make sure you take a walk along the Caldon Canal as there is plenty to see (and also eat). As well as the scenery there is theĀ marvellous Castros to the left and the Holly Bush to the right.

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Vibrant red berries, some of the first signs of Autumn.

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You can get some postcard friendly landscape shots by photographing barges on the mirror-like canal.

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Plenty of plants to photograph in the cottage garden

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A grass snake in the compost heap. Not quite the wildlife I’m used to after living in South Africa, but a worthy contender.

More Photos

View my Flickr for more pictures from this trip!