Eaton Bray holiday cottage, Chilterns, England
How Eaton Bray holiday cottage, Chilterns, England makes a difference
Bellows Mill dating back to the Doomsday book was a working mill up until 1955. After Bellows Mill ceased to be a working mill alterations and improvements were made to convert the property into a comfortable and picturesque country home. Many years of hard work and imagination ensured that the renovation was conducted without detracting from the properties character and historical features.
The appearance of the land surrounding the mill has changed considerably over the years. Sadly all the majestic Elm trees that can be seen in the old photos around the perimeter of the property succumbed to Dutch Elm disease. The moat that is in the field between Slicketts Lane and the mill, on the site of a roman villa and its dew ponds was filled in 1957 and the surrounding trees felled.
In the following decade nearly all the hedgerows were removed in the name of efficient farming and the brook which formed the county boundary and meandered around the field called ‘the Slipe’ was piped underground.
It is ironic that, in the space of a hundred years, some attitudes to the countryside have come full circle. In the terms of the 1887 lease, between the trustees and Frederick Simmons, the management of the trees and hedgerows is given as much significance as the maintenance of the buildings and the machinery.
Here are some snippets of the lengthy and detailed instructions as set out in the terms of the lease:
‘The lessee will not cut or plash any of the hedges of less than ten years growth nor at any other than seasonable times and on every such cutting will fence and preserve all the young trees and shoots’ and ‘will uphold and keep the Orchard in trees of good fruit of Apple and Pear trees to the number of twenty and will nourish and preserve and maintain all and every of the said fruit trees and all other trees growing on the said premises.’
Now as you approach Bellows Mill on the left is the Pikal, now a three acre wood which was planted in 1983. Then in November 2000, the ten acre field now known as ‘Harold’s Wood’ was planted with 2,500 deciduous trees in order to create a conservation area and provide habitat for wildlife. The hedges around this area have also been replaced. We believe in taking a pro active approach to managing the land we have here at the mill. We are in the process of installing a water source heat pump which we hope to be in action by the winter.
We encourage our guests to recycle when they stay with us. We have free range hens and we grow our own vegetables.
We have lived in the area all our lives so we cannot help but be heavily involved in the local community. We have a studio on site where we hold a regular pilates class for the locals, guests are always welcome. We have also held many a local wedding in our attractively converted barn.
A great deal of our business is generated by the locals and the local area. We often have guests who stay with us whilst visiting the London Gliding Club and Whipsnade Animal Park both located just 1 mile away. The local residences tend to use our accomodation and facilities whenever they have family and friends visiting.
We are keen to support the local community and services. We have some locals who we call on if any of our guests would like to participate in a Bee keeping course, Bird of Prey display or Aromatherapy session, all held right here at Bellows Mill.
We are situated on the borders of the three counties of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The mill is at the end of a no-through road, a mile away from the village of Eaton Bray and three miles from the nearest town of Dunstable. The mill stream runs adjacent to but higher than the level of the road. The mill itself dips into the hollow set beneath the imposing backcloth of the Chiltern Hills and the Whipsnade lion. The lion was designed by a Mr Lovell, who lived across the field in Slicketts Lane. He used strips of white sheets to mark the outline of the chalk silhouette.
The Chilterns landscape has distinct characteristics and the chalk ridge that runs close by to Bellows Mill is no exception. The chalk ridge offers long and breathtaking views across the valleys on one or both sides. Dunstable Downs a notable viewpoint is just a short walk away from Bellows Mill. Ivinghoe Beacon an equally popular and superb site is also close by situated at the northern end of the Ridgeway National Trail.
There are plenty of countryside attractions close by including The National Trust Ashridge Estate which has 5,000 acres of fabulous walking and cycling trails to explore.
Totternhoe Knolls is a chalky outcrop located north-west of Totternhoe village. With the remains of a medieval castle and a great example of chalk grassland, it has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Plus in the summer it is full of beautiful flowers and amazing views over the Vale of Aylesbury.
Nearby is the Grand Union Canal which stretches for 137 miles starting from London and ending in Birmingham. The canal is perfect for a relaxing level walk along the towpath and there are also boat trips available from various locations. The Chilterns has some lovely market towns to visit such as Tring and Berkamstead, where you can grab a bite to eat from the local deli, send a postcard to loved ones or warm up next to the fire in the pub.
Eaton Bray holiday cottage, Chilterns, England