Talgarth Flour Mill, situated in the heart of the little town of Talgarth near Brecon has a wonderful history but just a handful of years ago, there was precious little left of Talgarth Flour Mill. It was a rotting ruin, and a scruffy one at that. Then along came the BBC’s Village SOS programme in 2011 and with help from the Lottery too, our mill was ‘born again’. Our water-powered mill rides again!
These days you will find Talgarth Flour Mill, a thriving community enterprise, at the heart of the little country town of Talgarth at the foot of the Black Mountains. Open six days a week (Tuesday to Sunday) throughout the year and run by a gallant band of community volunteers, it’s a great place to visit for a morning or afternoon.
There’s something for everyone – you can take a guided tour and hear the full story of the mill and its renovation. Alternatively you can wander round in your own time – there’s plenty to see and find out about. Children can even have a go at making their own flour using our hand driven mill and learn about where their bread and butter comes from!
We mill two or three times a week – you may be lucky enough to catch us in action, but we always have the machinery turning and we always have plenty of our lovely flour and bread kits for sale.
If you allow enough time, you’ll be able to start or finish your visit with lunch or tea in our bakery café, The Baker’s Table – in 2014 they won the regional competition of ITV’s Best Bakery Award – absolutely no good for slimmers. Look forward to seeing you at the Mill!
Talgarth Flour Mill, The Mill House, The Square, Talgarth, Powys. LD3 0BW
July 2016 Update
Royal visit at Talgarth Mill and The Bakers’ Table
It all began in April, with a visit from Dame Shan Legge-Bourke. She called into Talgarth Mill to ask if we might be able to host a visit from HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall during their annual summer break. Dame Shan said that the Royals would be particularly interested in the Mill for its community credentials, and let it drop that Their Royal Highnesses enjoy our bread when they are staying in the area. What followed was a what was a recce, supposed to be discreet, but try hiding 9 of the Royals’ officials and having a discreet conversation in the café, especially when one of them was over 6’ tall, and they were all dressed in a distinctly ‘London look’! It was agreed that we would be put forward, that we would have to wait a couple of weeks to find out, and that we couldn’t tell anyone who the VIPs we were inviting them to meet were. We got the go ahead and had to quickly compile a list of invitees. Volunteers, staff, Talgarth school and suppliers were all included. When it came to café customers, we had to put the names of our regulars in a hat and draw lots, as space was limited. Two weeks before, we were allowed to say who was coming, but not at what time, and excitement began to mount as people planned what to wear!
On the day, guests had to arrive by 9.30am. As the time of the Royals’ arrival drew nearer, Dame Shan’s invited guests arrived, and we lined up at the gate to greet their Royal Highnesses. Having introduced them to Bruce and Rosie Williams, Liz and I took Prince Charles and the Duchess around the Mill and gardens, where they met volunteers, local school children and grain suppliers. In the café they met the rest of the guests before trying their hands at kneading bread. After unveiling a plaque to commemorate the visit, they met some of the Craft Shop’s artists, then went for a walkabout on The Square.
January 2016 Update
No Two Days Are Ever The Same at Talgarth Mill
I love the Mill; it’s so full of surprises. No two days are ever the same at Talgarth Mill and invariably days don’t turn out the way I expect them to.
On New Year’s Eve the Mill was a hive of activity with Rob (see picture), milling some A.C. Barrie wheat for our strong bread flour and at the same time showing visitors around and impressing them with his knowledge. Sue and Carole set about the year end stock take of flour, bags and labels in “The Baggery”. Tom was busy moving things back into the newly decorated second room of Talgarth Mill Craft Shop, at the same time doing a stock take of the flour in there. Meanwhile Hannah and Jeanette were busy measuring up and cutting hessian for curtains for the Granary. Sarah, Chris, Cath and Jonathon then arrived in the pouring rain with an impromptu grain delivery so were seen heaving 25kg bags of wheat into the lift and up into the Granary ensuring that we’ll be able to mill enough flour to fulfil January orders. And the visitors kept on coming – some of them having opted for the Mill as a slightly drier option than a visit to the Pwll y Wrach waterfalls
I was elated when I totted up December’s visitor numbers to find that we were not only way up on budget, but also way up on the visitor numbers for all previous Decembers. We always expect December to be our quietest month of the year and have some
really dismal days with no visitors at all, but the period between Christmas and New Year has more than made up for the dearth of visitors earlier in the month.
There are lots of plans for the Mill for the coming year. We hope to attract more school visits and also to make the Mill more of a fun place for families – offering things for children to do that are both educational and entertaining.
The Granary is rather a wasted space at the moment so the ladies from the Craft Shop are helping to give it a facelift and make it a more cosy and inviting space to use for craft workshops, meetings, classes, conferences and anything else you can think of along those lines.
Then there are the gardens. Our opening under the National Gardens Scheme was so successful last year that the volunteer gardeners, in a weak moment and plied with alcohol, have agreed to do it again!
Liz Rose, Mill Manager
November 2015 Update
Talgarth Mill Awarded Silver Medal at World Responsible Tourism Awards
Congratulations to a shining star of responsible tourism! This week Talgarth Mill, a restored 200 year old water mill famous for putting the small welsh town of Talgarth back on the map as a tourist destination, received its greatest accolade yet when awarded a silver medal at the World Responsible Tourism Awards in London. The gold medal went to Urban Adventure in Australia.
The judges in the “Best for Engaging People and Culture” category were looking for tourism providers with deep, long-standing connections and commitments to the local community and exciting policies and practices for celebrating local culture and ways of life.
Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair of the judging panel, commented on why Felin Talgarth Mill had been recognised, saying “A community project run by 30 very committed volunteers – the cultural activities of milling and baking have brought economic vitality back to the town and enabled the co-located craft and cottage interior businesses to launch. They have used tourism to restore their mill and bring economic development to their market town”
Liz Rose, Manager of Felin Talgarth Mill commented on their win “This is such good news for our amazing team of volunteers who have worked so hard for the success of the project. Some volunteer organisations have difficulty attracting and keeping volunteers but many of ours have been involved since the renovation of the Mill five years ago and it’s great to see their commitment recognised. It’s been an exciting year at the Mill with no less than three Great Taste Awards for our various types of stone ground flour and now recognition on the world stage alongside some tourist industry giants.”
The world’s most coveted blind-tasted food awards, Great Taste, has just released the Great Taste stars of 2015 and Talgarth Mill is amongst the producers celebrating as another three of its flours are now able to proudly carry the little gold and black Great Taste logo.
Following the success of our Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour, which was awarded Two Stars in 2013 and 2014, Talgarth Mill entered three different flours this year – Talgarth Mill Plain Stoneground Wholemeal Flour, Talgarth Mill Seven Seeds Strong Wholemeal Flour and Felin Talgarth Blawd Gwenith Cyflawn Mal o Gymru, our totally Welsh Flour. Each of them was awarded One Star.
The Bakers’ Table were also awarded a star for their Bara Felinwr, made from 100% Talgarth Mill flour milled from grain sourced in Herefordshire.
Judged by over 400 of the most demanding palates belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restauranteurs, producers and a host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers. When a product wears a Great Taste label it carries a badge of honour but more importantly, the Great Taste logo is a signpost to a wonderful tasting product – hundreds of judges have worked tirelessly to discover the very best, through hours and hours of blind-tasting a total of 10,000 different foods and drinks.
Nicola Willis of The Bakers’ Table said ‘We are delighted to have won a Great Taste Award for our bread. This was the first time we had entered the Great Taste Awards and the feedback that we received was very complimentary. Talgarth Mill has already won Great Taste Awards for flour in 2013 and 2014, but the volunteers who mill and bag the flour were thrilled to get a further three awards this year.’ explained Nicola. ‘It’s been a week for good news at the Mill as we also found out that we are finalists in the World Responsible Tourism Awards.’
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with branding and packaging ignored. Whether it is cheese, ale, steak or chutney being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar or bottle before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.
There were 10,000 Great Taste entries this year and of those products, 130 have been awarded a 3-star, 597 received a 2-star and 2,382 were awarded a 1-star accolade. The panel of judges included Masterchef judge and restaurant critic Charles Campion, TV presenter and cook, Aggie Mackenzie, Great British Bake Off winner, Frances Quinn, Masterchef the Professionals finalist, Adam Handling, food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, and chefs including James Golding, Chef Director of The Pig hotel group, who have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the 2015 Top 50 Foods, the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the new 2015 Supreme Champion.
Finally on Monday 7 September, at a nail-biting Awards’ Dinner at the Royal Garden Hotel, London, the great and the good from the world of fine food will gather to hear who has won the Golden Fork Awards and the final applause will be reserved for the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2015.