About the New Year's Steam Day
Situated in the village of Uffculme is Coldharbour Mill, one of the world’s oldest woollen textile mills dating back to 1797. In 1983 it was opened as a working museum. It is usually closed for the winter but on New Year’s Day, it comes alive with the annual New Year's Steam Day, where the old engines come alive once more operated by members of the Steam Volunteer Group.
Expect to see the steam engines and boilers in operation supplying the steam power to the factory’s heritage machines that still spin wool into yarn to be woven into many beautiful items.
The museum’s team of dedicated volunteers give up part of their holiday to give tours of the factory and steam complex. And what a tour it is with the rhythmic pulse of the steam engines’ pistons along with the spinning metal wheels, running belts and of course the textile machines with many spools of yarn clanking away as they did over 200 years ago.
Originally a corn and grist mill, it was converted to a textile in 1797 and powered by a waterwheel until 1865 when the first steam engine was put into operation. Thomas Fox, from a Cornish Quaker family and his six sons, made Coldharbour Mill into a crucial part in the Industrial Revolution in the southwest of England. Fox Brothers & Company transformed a cottage industry into a large-scale factory production with the global distribution of textile products. Today, the mill is a charity organization and is recognised as one of the best-preserved Victorian woollen mills in the country.
Entry To The Event
The mill tours will begin at 10:30 a.m., with the engines running between 11:00 a.m. until 3.30 p.m. The shop and refreshment trailer are open from 10.30am. This is considered a Special Event, so the admission price is £15.40 for adults, £13.20 for age 60+, students and the disabled and their caregiver. Children from 5 to 16 enter for £9.35 and a family package for two adults and 2 kids is £43.45. Children under 5 enter for free.
Somewhere to Stay in Devon
Being a wintertime event, tent camping is out of the question except for the very daring or one who requires some in-depth counselling. The other extreme for about £200 is a stay at the Old Bridwell Hotel in Uffculme. There are many other reasonably priced hotels in the area along the M5 that will allow you to celebrate New Year’s Eve into the wee hours and still be able to attend the New Year’s Steam Day.
Getting To Uffculme
Drivers approaching Coldharbour Mill will want to find Junction 27 on the M5 and take the A38 exit heading east. At the Waterloo Cross roundabout, take the third exit to the B3181. Travel about a half-mile and make a left turn on Bridwell Avenue. The next turn is a left onto the B3440 (Uffculme Road). Look for the brown sign that reads 'Working Wool Museum' with the arrow pointing right. The next right is your destination. Note that there is a local bus service from Waterloo Cross Exeter City Centre. Contact Stagecoach South West for the schedule on New Year’s Day.
Other Things To Do Around The Area
After you spend New Year’s Day at the mill, you may want to consider seeing the nearby sights. Some attractions like the Devon Badger Watch are closed during winter but that should not stop you from finding other enjoyable activities. One of those is the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in nearby Exeter. It holds significant and diverse collections in areas such as zoology, anthropology, fine art, local and overseas archaeology, and geology. The whole family will have something of interest to learn about. Another place to spend a winter day is the coastal city of Torquay and the Torquay Museum that features an Agatha Christie gallery.
Parking is free and no ticket is needed to visit the mill shop and Waterside Café. People with mobility issues should note that the very nature of the museum tour may make it difficult. Call ahead to see if service dogs are allowed, but your mutt 'Rover' is not likely to enjoy the loud sounds that steam engines can produce. Most of all, be prepared to experience what life must have been like in the 'glory days' of the industrial revolution.
When is the next New Year's Steam Day?
The New Year's Steam Day is planned to take place at Uffculme, Cullompton, Devon, EX15 3EE, Wednesday 1st January, 2020. This is a Steam Event.
01884 840 960
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