Mill of Benholm

An A-listed watermill in a picturesque setting on the north bank of the Burn of Benholm in the Mearns of S Aberdeenshire, the Mill of Benholm lies 1½ miles (2.3 km) northeast of Johnshaven. Dating from c.1711 and built as a meal-mill to service local farms, a changing agricultural industry, including the decline of oats in favour of barley and the dramatic reduction in the number of farms, eventually took its toll and the mill finally ceased production in 1982. It was bought by the local authority in 1984 and was restored, operating until 2014 as a heritage visitor attraction and training facility for adults with special needs.

Interpretation boards explain the workings of the mill and process of making oatmeal to visitors as they walk around the grounds and along the burn, passing the mill-pond, lade and waterwheel, and observe the machinery working from a viewing gallery within the mill building. The mill was managed by a small charity, which provides work experience in catering and horticulture, while family art, craft and science workshops were held here during the summer months.

The mill featured in the 1971 television serialisation of the novel Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon (1901-35), which was set in the area.

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