Places of Inspiration Part 6: The Saxon Mill, a Writer’s Delight by the Mill-Race on the River Avon Near Warwick

In each one of my places of inspiration I have found spirit of place : in India, at Ayers Rock/Uluru in Australia, in London, in the White Garden at Sissinghurst in Kent, and in Sydney Opera House.  But today, I return to a place very close to home – it’s the Saxon Mill on the River Avon, just outside Warwick – and five minutes walk from where I live.

The Saxon Mill, Warwick
The Saxon Mill, Warwick

The Saxon Mill is a romantic building, which feeds a writer’s imagination – especially for those who write historical fiction. And just down the river is the gaunt, atmospheric ruin of Guy’s Cliffe House. I cannot walk along the river bank here, and stand opposite and gaze at it without imagining all sorts of stories – tales of romance, tragedy, ill deeds, ghosts…

Nearby, on Blacklow Hill, in 1312 King Edward II’s favourite Piers Gaveston was dragged by the Earl of Warwick’s heavy-gang, to a spot now known as Gaveston’s Cross, where he was savagely murdered. He was Edward II’s lover, and exerting much too much power over the kingdom for the Earl of Warwick’s liking. Even a grim tale like this can add to the romance of a place – separated as those events are from us by 700 years.

But what completes the delight of the Saxon Mill for me is its location on the River Avon. Tables and benches are set out overlooking the mill-pond; the old water-wheel may be viewed here too. I love the smell of it; dank, moist timber, full of darkness and age and mystery…

Further along is the footbridge over the weir.  White water gushes down, foaming the river. The terrace overlooking the mill-race is filled daily with people eating and drinking and chatting and laughing; it’s a popular gathering place for locals and those who come from a greater distance.

Saxon Mill weir and footbridge
Saxon Mill weir and footbridge

We went there in the heavy snow of December 2010 to photograph the river and trees, looking like Wonderland.

The Weir at the Saxon Mill 26 Dec 2010
The Weir at the Saxon Mill 26 Dec 2010

Beyond the footbridge you may find a track which traverses the fields to Old Milverton Church – another path much enjoyed by walkers and dogs alike.

I associate the Saxon Mill with happy social gatherings, with a writer’s inspiration, with romantic wonderings… Very close to home, it has that unmistakeable spirit of place.

Do you have a favourite place, near to home, that inspires your imagination? I’d love to hear your stories and comments!

Published by SC Skillman

I'm a writer of psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction and non-fiction. My latest book, 'Paranormal Warwickshire', was published by Amberley Publishing in November 2020. Find all my published books here:

5 thoughts on “Places of Inspiration Part 6: The Saxon Mill, a Writer’s Delight by the Mill-Race on the River Avon Near Warwick

  1. I was /am fascinated by your blog and subjects. I stumbled on the Saxon Mill blog ( not quite sure how) and simply had to read it. I was stationed at CAD Kineton an army ammunition Depot outside Leamington Spa and near the village of KIneton and the site of the Battle of Edgehill back in 1960..
    The other young officers ( male ) I was the only female there, took me to the Saxon Mill on my 22nd birthday, and I’ve never forgotten looking through the thick glass down to the rushing water below… lovely place…

    Kineton and the site of the Battle of Edgehill were still haunted by the ghosts of the battle, and you might be interested in the blog I wrote about them in 2017

    I live in NZ now, and love reading about the places where I once lived and loved ! Your pics and stories of Compton Wynyates, Warwick Castle and others bring those times back…thank you…

    1. Thank you for your comment Valerie. I can well imagine what an impact the rushing water of the watermill made on you. Yes I do know of the story of the Battle of Edgehill, and I often drive out there and I love the pub there, known as The Castle Inn. I will read your blog post about it. I was going to include it in my book Paranormal Warwickshire and was frustrated because the county boundaries have changed and Edgehill and the battle-site are now located in Oxfordshire! However there is a brilliant exhibition about the Battle of Edgehill in St Peter’s Church, Radway, which is itself just inside the modern border of Warwickshire. I may be writing a further book called Illustrated Tales of Warwickshire, and then I will be able to include many of the locations I had no room for in Paranormal Warwickshire. By the way I was in New Zealand (south island) last November and I loved it!

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