Swaffham Prior

January 11th, 2009 by Francis

No baby yet. Pfff. At a bit of a loose end – we were expecting to be doing a lot of feeding and nappy-changing by today, but instead, we have some free time. So we decided to go for a nice, Sunday afternoon walk.

Foster's Mill, Swaffham PriorWe drove up to Reach, near Burwell, and parked there. There’s an easy walk from Reach, out toward’s the Devil’s Dyke, over to Swaffham Prior, and back to Reach. If a 9-months pregnant woman can do it, anyone can!

When we got to Swaffham Prior (don’t ask how long it took – we weren’t watching the time!), we decided to wander around a bit, and see how it looked. We headed up towards the fairly obvious windmill on the hill, and were pleasantly surprised to find that it was open to visitors.

MillingThe windmill is about 160 years old , and is fully-restored and working. Visitors can climb the ships ladders from the ground floor (or ‘meal floor’) up to the stone floor. The millstones are grinding away on the stone floor. The guy who showed us around explained that the upper (‘runner’) stones of the millstones are made of French burr. This comes in sections, put together like a jigsaw, and then held together in a sort of plaster-of-paris shell.

Flour dresserOn the opposite side of the room from these millstones (only one of which works) is a ‘flour dresser’. This gizmo is used to separate the bran from the flour, say, so that you only end up with white flour. Otherwise, you have wholemeal. It is basically a giant sieve. Clever.

Up above that is the “bin floor”, which is used for grain storage. There is a big grain hopper, and the upright shaft going down through the floor. You can poke your head up to have a look at the dust floor, where there are the big cogs in side the roof (‘cap’) of the windmill.

So, we learnt some stuff, and that was a bit of a bonus. Worth visiting, if you’re wandering around that way.

We also popped into St Mary’s church, in the village. not content with one church, they have two, side-by-side. The older one, dedicated to the impressively named St Cyriac and St Julietta (Cyriac’s mum, apparently), is now decommissioned. St Mary’s has some nice stained glass windows, two of which depict scenes from the First World War, with encouraging religious aphorisms beneath.

The Dyke’s End pub in Reach was still open when we got back, so there was even time for a fine pint of Devil’s Dyke Pale Ale (brewed in Reach). Hurrah!

Blimey… we’ll be joining the National Trust and buying the Radio Times next. Now, where are my slippers… ?

[-short- Version Française]

Toujours rien… Nous nous attendions à passer notre week-end à nourrir et changer les couches de Junior mais vu qu’il n’a toujours pas montré le bout de son nez, nous devons trouver autre chose pour nous occuper. Je sais, allons marcher! Deux heures de rando. (facile), rien de tel.

Nous avons fait une ballade à partir de Reach, direction Swaffham Prior via Devil’s Dyke (le fossé du Diable) et retour sur Reach. La moitié sur une petite route de campagne, la moitié dans la boue. En arrivant sur Swaffham Prior nous avons eut la surprise de pouvoir visiter le moulin à vent!Le moulin a été reconstruit il y a à peu près 160 ans et est en parfait état de marche (d’ailleurs, comme il y a avait du vent, il marchait!).Nous avons pu monter jusqu’au 2ème étage, oui, même moi et mon gros bidon. cf version anglaise pour les photos … euh, et les détails sur le fonctionnement du moulin.

Toujours dans le même village, nous sommes alés visiter les … deux (!) églises. Elles se partagent le même terrain et le même cimetière. L’une d’elle devait être détruite mais personne ne s’est occupé de le faire, alors elle est toujours debout. Utilisée comme salle de fête maintenant.Retour sur Reach, le long de la route. Et comme le pub était ouvert, nous avons été nous réchauffer, Francis avec une pinte de bière locale et moi avec un thé.

Retour à la maison pour un petit salé aux lentilles – miam! Et puis aikido pour Francis et bain pour moi :p)

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