Willsbridge Mill is a beautiful circular walk in a woodland valley, centering around an old mill built in 1712, with the Siston Brook running through. It is such a lovely walk, and worth a visit, even though it is not very long.
You can park at the free car park, signposted Willsbridge Mill, from here, walk over the road, following the signs, to a paved walkway that will slope down into the woodland. Once in the valley, there are signs that direct you to either the bat walk or to the mill. There are a few walkways that lead off the main paths that are worth exploring. Going towards the mill, you will follow the main path alongside the brook, through lush woodland dotted with bluebells in spring.
The Mill has a welcoming community cafe (with dog treats given out to well-behaved pooches). It is worth a stop here for a cup of tea if the sun is out or you and your pup can sit inside if the weather isn’t kind. Next to the cafe is a lovely community wildlife garden, dogs do need to be on a lead in the cafe and wildlife garden.
The path continues along, taking you to the other side of the valley, where you can visit the pond and brook. If visiting the brook, please do not let your dog drink from it as pollution from nearby farms leaches into the water. Or skip this part of the walk and follow the path which used to be an old dramway line.
‘The woodland is a small part of the ancient Kingswood Forest which used to extend from The Severn to Landsdown in the South. The main road past the Queens Head was originally a Roman road through the forest giving access to The River Severn and on to Wales. There was an Anglo Saxon well and drinking point opposite the site of the Queens Head.
The Mill was constructed by the Pearsall family in 1712, on the site of Oldland Manor. They lived in the Willsbridge House (The Castle) opposite the access to the Mill and the Limes (a large house, now a ruin in the wooded area next to the entrance to the Mill) was built as a residence for one of the sisters.
In 1840 the Mill was used to ground flour and the Mills family that managed the mill lived in the Mill Cottage next to the Barn. This brief history only scratches the surface so if you wish to read more and look at some old images of the Mill and local area go to www.flickr.com.’
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