The present mill is an 18th or early 19th century rebuilding in brick, timber and stone on the site of earlier mills. It had two waterwheels, one wooden and undershot driving three pairs of stones, and the other iron and breastshot driving two. However. only the latter remains and was restored in 1980. From the 1930s, due to low water flow, an oil engine was needed to give power with electricity supplying the other machinery. Much of the machinery is still visible inside the mill. On the outside an eel trap was fitted into the sluice gate. Across the courtyard to the west stands the Millers House whilst there are fine weatherboarded barns to the north. There is an onsite cafe, a picnic site and children’s outdoor play area. National Mills Weekend – Saturday 14th May & Sunday 15th May, 10am – 4pm Bridge End, Bromham MK43 8LP Tel 01234 824330 www.friendsofbromhammill.org.uk/
The Priory Church of St Mary commonly called Bushmead Priory. Built in 1195 a rare survival of the complete refrectory of an Augustinian priory, with fine timber roof and notable 14th century wall paintings. Bushmead was disbanded at the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the property passed to Sir William Gascoigne, a retainer of Cardinal Wolsey. Please call to find out opening times, entry by prebooked guided tours only. Located off B660, 2 miles South of Bolnhurst, Bedfordshire MK44 2LD Tel 01234 860000 www.english-heritage.org.uk
The Castle Mound is all that remains of Bedford castle, an 11th century earthwork motte and bailey fortress, destroyed by Henry III after his siege of 1224. Today the motte still stands, forming part of an archaeological park restored in 2009. The mound is located adjacent to The Higgins, in Bedford town centre, just off The Embankment.
Elstow Abbey was founded in 1078 by the Countess Judith, niece of William the Conqueror. It became the eighth richest of the 106 Benedictine nunneries existing at the time. It retains many Norman features and in its heyday, the building was twice its recent size. It is unusual in having a completely separate, 13th century, bell tower. John Bunyan was also baptised in the font to be found in the abbey. Church End, Elstow, Beds MK42 9XT Tel 01234 261477 email@example.com www.elstow-abbey.org.uk
A postmill originally built around 1770, it was still in use until the 1930’s. Constructed around a central post so that it can be turned to face the wind, this impressive postmill is the only complete windmill left in the county. For an inside view of the postmill, visitors can obtain a key from the Royal George pub in Silver Street, Stevington. A small returnable deposit is required. 2 Windmill Lane, Stevington MK43 7QZ
Willington Dovecote and Stables
16th-century stone dovecote and stable building belonging to the National Trust commissioned by Sir John Gostwick, who served as Cardinal Wolsey’s Master of Horse. They were completed around 1541 with the dovecote boasting an impressive 1,500 nesting boxes lining the walls. The cote and adjoining stable block are thought to have been built with stone scavenged from nearby Newnham Priory after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Beside the dovecote is a contemporary stable block, most likely built from the same stone. Together they are all that remains of what was once a range of buildings that made up Gostwick’s estate. Opening hours are limited and admission by written appointment only; phone for details. Church End, Willington MK44 3PX Tel 01234 838278 www.nationaltrust.org.uk for details.
Houghton House was built in the early 17th century by Mary Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, as an elaborate hunting lodge. An unusual mix of Jacobean and classical design, it retains two important early elements of classical architecture in the form of its two loggias, which have been attributed to Inigo Jones. The house may have been the inspiration for the ‘Palace Beautiful’ in the 17thcentury Christian writer John Bunyan’s religious epic, The Pilgrim’s Progress. When it was dismantled in 1797, the ruins survived as a garden feature in the grounds of nearby Ampthill Park. Open any reasonable time during daylight hours until dusk or 6 pm, whichever is earliest. Free Entry. Hazelwood Lane, Ampthill, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK45 2EZ www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/ places/houghton-house