Did you know the name Cricklepit derives from the word 'crickepette', meaning pit or hollow beneath the cliffs?
The Coombe Stream ran through Exeter's city wall, then into the pit at the mill.
Devon Wildlife Trust runs over 100 events each year, including walks and talks, open days and a festival. Find out more here.
The earliest known mill at Cricklepit was built in the 13th century – around the same time that Exeter acquired a Mayor and a Cathedral! Most people know that mills were used to grind grain; not many also know that there were ‘fulling’ mills used to finish woollen cloth by pounding it. The structure alongside Cricklepit Mill (now owned by the Guinness Trust) was once the drying house where the wool was hung on ‘tenterhooks’ to dry. By the middle of the 18th century, Cricklepit had three waterwheels driving five sets of mill mechanisms for both grinding and fulling.
When war with France disrupted the market for wool and steam power replaced water, Cricklepit went into decline. By the 20th century it was only milling animal feed and even this came to an end in the 1970s. In 1999 a fire seriously damaged the Mill. It was subsequently restored by the Devon Historic Buildings Trust. DWT bought it in 2004.
The Mill is a symbol of the wealth that the countryside generated and upon which the city of Exeter was built. This makes it a very appropriate headquarters for a wildlife conservation organisation.
Download the Cricklepit Self-Guide Tour Booklet pdf
The Mill today
Today the mill is Devon Wildlife Trust's headquarters. It has a free Visitor Centre and a wildlife garden. The mill machinery has been restored and DWT organises regular milling days on the second Friday of every month. Visit the events webpages for the next milling date. Watch the video below of the mill in action making wheat into flour.
Go back to the main Cricklepit Mill webpage