It's winter so nothing much is growing. Please come back in the Spring.

It is nearly Spring. But we're still trying to sort out the old water mill. Come back again soon.

No such problems in the real world: see Norfolk Lavender

Other lavender purveyors are available: loveliest lavender fields

Norfolk Lavender is based at Caley Mill, an undershot watermill built using local carrstone about 1837 and embellished with curious Neo-Gothic ornamentation, making the building unique in Norfolk (and probably elsewhere in England too). When operational the upper floors were used for grain storage, the millstones and associated equipment were on the first floor, while flour was stored on the ground floor. The ground floor is now the gift shop, while the miller's cottage has become a tearoom.

A mill has operated on this site since at least the late sixteenth century but went out of use in either 1919 or 1923. The photograph was taken about 1912. The wheel is powered by the Heacham River whose headwaters are a few miles to the east near Fring, and which flows to the south of Sedgeford (where a bridge is on the site of the eponymous ford).

Given the small catchement of the Heacham River, and allowing for the inevitable changes in coastline in this part of Norfolk, just maybe the earliest mills on the site were tidal. About 25 miles to the east, the former watermill at Glandford was partially tidal – although seemingly impeded rather than assisted by the tidal flow. So far as is known the nearby Letheringsett corn mill (which has been restored to full operation) was not affected by tides, nor the former Letheringsett Brewery Mill (now a house).

The tracks of the West Norfolk Junction Railway once ran more or less parallel to the Heacham River, to the immediate north of the land now occupied by Norfolk Lavender; nothing remains visible of this stretch of trackbed, although cuttings and access for farm vehicles run to the east.

The trackbed of the former West Norfolk Junction Railway running east-west to the north of Heacham is clearly visible from Hunstanton Road in Heacham, but not accessible.
Norfolk Lavender is about 500 metres to the south-east, behind the camera.
Photograph taken May 2019.


Standing the other side of Hunstanton Road, looking along the course of the former trackbed towards Norfolk Lavender. The Heacham River runs almost parallel to the trackbed just out of shot to the right; this watercourse originally powered Caley Mill, now used by Norfolk Lavender for a gift shop and tea room. Photograph taken October 2018.


Top: A postcard, probably from a photograph taken in the 1950s, of the original roadside kiosk which Norfolk Lavender first used.
Bottom: A similar hexagonal structure, but with a different pitch roof, used by Norfolk Lavender as a shelter for equipment distilling lavender oil. The upper part of Caley Mill is visible behind. Photograph taken May 2019.
This kiosk is the inspiration for the fictional Lavender Halt, shown below.

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Images and text copyright Bob Trubshaw 2018–2021