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Educational Bookings at Combe Mill

Edward Nash Clerk of Works

Meet Edward Nash, the Clerk of the Works, James Coombes who makes gates and John Smart who is our engine driver and find out how much they were paid. Dress up as a Victorian and have your picture taken.

Learning about Steam
Young Blacksmiths
School visit
Primary school visit
Pond watch
Pond watch

NOTE:  Combe Mill Society no longer offers school visits but our facilities may be booked by a qualified educational organiser to run such visits  Please read on.


Learning inside the Mill

The mill presents a wonderful hands-on experience of the history of small scale industrial technology.

There has been a mill here since the Domesday book and water was the main power source. When the railway arrived in the early 19th century it made possible the transport of the beam engine and Cornish boiler which were installed in the late 1800s. The mill cut and machined wood for a variety of purposes and the coal to burn and the products created were transported by rail from the Mills own siding.

Teachers are able to map many syllabus topics to the content of the Mill as illustrated by the working engines, machinery and craft tools at the mill – social history, craft & design, STEM, and so on.

We have created several learning modules that can be used to meet the current syllabus.

Explore water power with how the River Evenlode turned the gigantic waterwheel that was the main source of energy for the mill until 1852.

When water power is unavailable, explain the power of steam and vacuum by examining how the beam engine and Cornish steam boiler operated. Investigate working models that use steam to drive machinery.

Explore the laws of pulleys, levers and cogs with reference to our machinery.

Handle and identify old tools used to shape the wood to make handles, wheels and other wooden objects needed by Blenheim Estate and the Palace.

Wooden patterns were used to make moulds for casting metal tools.  Learn about making moulds and casting objects.

Pupils can learn about the properties of metal in a hands-on way by becoming a real blacksmith in our forge and make a mini poker.

Experience and measure the extremely hot working conditions in Victorian times.

Follow our physics trail and learn how clocks keep accurate time with a pendulum.

For team activities, let the children challenge themselves in our hands-on ‘exploration’ area; opportunities to build models of the waterwheel, make gear and pulley systems, create timelines of inventions or use a manual typewriter.

Environmental Education

The Mill also presents a wonderful  hands-on experience of the natural history of small scale sawmill taking timber from the Blenheim Estate woodlands.

Organisers can tell the story of Sapling to Sawdust  by working both in Mill Wood forest and inside the Mill.  The Forest Trail in Mill Wood can be used (under a license agreement with the Blenheim Estate)  and discover how wood was used in the past and how it is used today

Along the way pupils can investigate the forest lifecycle and the importance of woodland, pond and meadows as natural habitats for animals and plants.


There is indoor and outdoor seating for eating packed lunches; tea and coffee is available.

Community and Youth Groups are also welcome.

For advice on risk assessments click on here >  Access Statement   and here > Advice for risk assessment of outdoor areas

Further Information

Please email: for further information about costs and availability


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