Meerkats and Bees visit Hough Mill

14th October 2015
Meerkats and Bees visit historic Hough Mill


The Meerkats and Bees classes at Belton Church of England Primary School had an exciting time at 200 year old Hough Mill near Swannington.

The children are studying the story of the Little Red Hen who plants and harvests wheat, then mills it into flour and bakes it into bread without any help from the other animals on the farm. At Hough Mill they were able to explore the mill and see how wheat is ground into flour before having a go themselves using the hand quern.

The classes were also able to try out the other equipment such as being weighed on the long arm sack scales and having a lift on the sack trolley that would have been used to lift sacks of flour to the height of the farm cart that came to collect them.

Charlie said “I liked standing on the scales with my friends. We were heavier!”

Pupils were enthralled by the “old miner” who guided them around the horse statue and replica gin pit and were glad that they did not have to work underground. They moved on to the Victorian era Califat mine where they learned how hard it was to mine coal and how a flood of water from a disused mine trapped miners underground.

Phoebe said “I liked wearing the miner’s helmet and Oscar liked carrying the miner’s lamp.”

The mill and former coal mines are set in several acres of woodland owned by Swannington Heritage Trust. Volunteers manage the area for the benefit of both the industrial history and as nature reserves for the wildlife. Pupils were able to help by using leaves, twigs and logs to make a hedgehog hotel that will be used by a range of creatures to hibernate in for the winter.

Mrs Gamble teacher who had organised the trip said “the children had a wonderful time with so many hands on activities. The visit gave them a lot of experiences that they will be able to relate to these as we teach the English, History and nature elements of the national curriculum”

Swannington Heritage Trust volunteers are keen to encourage schools and youth groups to visit their industrial history and wildlife sites. They will tailor a visit to the preferences of the school and teachers are welcome to make a pre-visit to plan their activities. The Trust can be contacted by emailing

Walkers can visit the sites throughout the year by following the network of public and permissive footpaths. Details of events are on the Trust website and the Hough Mill facebook page and twitter feed.