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20 Jun 2023

Why we love Barry Mill

Why we love Barry Mill


Four voices: Mike Metcalfe; Alan Gordon; Rhonna Scanlon; visitor

I'm Mike Metcalfe. Welcome to Barry Mill.
I'm the Visitor Services Supervisor at this site for the National Trust for Scotland.

Barry Mill is an 18th-century water mill, rebuilt in 1815 following a fire. It goes back until around about the 12th century. In Angus alone, 165 mills in a map dated 1794, 141 of which were meal mills. If you think that in 1800 an estimated 60,000 mills in the UK were feeding the population. They were the food factories of their day.

In terms of visitors to the mill, we have people coming looking for a peaceful, natural environment so they can walk, so that they can sit, so they can have family picnics.
And we have people coming because they're really interested in the heritage and the history of the mill, and they're interested in those food factories of yesterday and the social history of how people's lives were affected by these mills.

It has something really for everybody. It has a lovely meadow park by the original Barry Burn, where people can picnic and enjoy. We've been working on a network of pathways, so right throughout the year we have people coming to enjoy the outside.

Barry Mill provides some fantastic entertainment for children in addition to all of the heritage and the nature. If you go round the trails, you will find lots of animal posts, which give children a trail of information.
In the mill itself there's a mouse hunt, where there are 8 named mice that are hidden. They need to find them and they need to solve a puzzle.

In terms of the facilities that we offer at Barry Mill, we have toilets. We also have a shop where we serve beautifully fresh ground coffee with a new machine that we've just put in. We serve ice creams and we have a number of retail items, some of which are connected with the history of the mill but it just provides that added experience for people.

The welcome we give people is a very individual one. I believe that we send people away -- and it's our intention to send people away -- quite surprised by their experience.
Everyone has a different interest, so we try to find that interest and then try to deliver the experience that is tailored really to them.

I think it's a special place partly because of that, but nearly everybody leaves here either a little bit more informed about the importance of mills in the food source of former generations, but also relaxed. It's such a place of tranquillity, and everybody seems to notice that.
So for me, it's a privilege and a really enjoyable place to work.

My name is Alan Gordon and I'm a volunteer guide at Barry Mill.
I love Barry Mill because of the sense of tranquillity that it gives you. Between the running water and the machines running, it's all very soothing. It can improve your mindfulness.
People go up to the weir and then come back down again, and they go 'ahh, that was lovely'!

I think the best thing about it is the fact that it's a working museum, and I think it's tremendous that it's being preserved as a working museum for people like kids. To show them the engineering, for me, is absolutely fascinating. I think the younger ones are usually the ones I get the wow from!
They like to see the big wheel going and then see where it goes and follow the shaft all the way up through the mill and then see the sack lift working all the different cogs, turning different things, and then the belts drive other bits, and the whole thing just runs off the one shaft.
This is amazing really, when you think about it.

I am Rhonna Scanlan and my role is as a volunteer helper.
I love Barry Mill because it's a good place to walk with my dog.
It's a good place to come and visit at any time of the year.
There's friendly people that you can chat to! There's lots of different people that come from different places to visit. You meet people here and it's just a good place to come.
The mill itself is very, very interesting too.

My name is Stephen Studyvin. Originally, I'm from California but I live in Dundee now.
I love Barry Mill because it's actually functioning. You can turn it on and see how it all runs.
I really love how gorgeous it is out here, and when you can go inside and see what it might have been like as it was originally running -- it's incredible.

I love Barry Mill because it provides for me a new learning journey: the heritage of the project, the history of the mill, the social history behind it and the engagement with nature on a daily basis really provides a fantastic rewarding experience.

Hear from members of our team at Barry Mill about why they love this peaceful place with a fascinating social history.

A rare remaining example of a functioning meal mill, Barry Mill is special. It tells the stories of how Scotland used to feed people all over the land – a couple of hundred years ago, there were many thousands of these mills dotted across rural communities. It also gives an insight into the technological expertise of the miller, who harnessed the seemingly tranquil Barry Burn to power the engineering triumph seen inside the mill.

The mill is set in a beautiful landscape, where the water trickles past, birds sing in the woodland on the banks of the burn and wildflowers adorn the meadows. This place is a treat for all your senses.

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