Magnificent Mills

In 2021 Emerald Ant worked with 2 schools in North and East Dorset to engage children and their local communities in two very important mills; Sturminster Newton Mill and Walford Mill, now a prominent craft centre. Here is the film of the two events…

The Project at Walford Mill…

On Friday October 8th children from Allenbourn and Beaucroft Schools got together at a Georgian Garden Party, to celebrate Walford Mill Craft Centre.

Throughout September and October 72 children worked with Emerald Ant artists and musicians from Ensemble Bash to create outdoor artwork and fabulous music. This is a post-lockdown celebratory project, funded by Arts Council England.

… They have had an absolutely brilliant time. The feedback from pupils and staff has been entirely positive, with the groups of pupils really enjoying the art and being involved in such a creative and inspiring project. The art work the pupils have produced is really great. 
The music workshop was also fantastic – it was wonderful to hear and see the pupils so enthusiastic, especially when we have been without such input for so long. The musicians were wonderful with the pupils – really engaging so that all could be and wanted to be involved.  You only had to look at their faces to see the enjoyment and involvement. 
A particular memory I will take away was seeing Sid, our lad with cerebral palsy and autism during the music workshop. Seeing his face light up and him joining in with the singing with such joy was memory making for the staff, and clearly for him – he was loving life!
Thanks to you and all involved – it has been a brilliant project for our pupils

(Headteacher Allenbourn Middle School)

July 26th 2021

A Magnificent Celebration of Sturminster Newton Mill took place on July 18th…

Sturminster Newton Mill has been used for milling since 1016 and the mill itself is over 500 years old. The aim of the project is to bring the local community and younger generations to the mill and involve more people in milling and looking after the building.

June 18th 2021

A Celebration of Dorset’s Mills

This June we are starting a fabulous new project. Magnificent Mills celebrates two very special mills.

Our first event takes place on July 18th at Sturminster Newton Mill. Everyone is welcome!

Sturminster Newton Mill is an ancient working mill standing on the banks of the River Stour in North Dorset, and Walford Mill, an old mill now housing a craft centre, is in Wimborne, East Dorset. We have secured funding to deliver this exciting work from Dorset Performing Arts Fund, Dorset Council, the Southwest Museums Development Fund and Arts Council England. We are partnering with Sturminster Newton Heritage Trust and Wimborne History Festival to deliver this project.

Schools Workshops at the Mill

Children at William Barnes Primary and Yewstock Special School are now making art and music about Sturminster Mill with artists Sarah Butterworth and Kim Sibley. All children benefit from a tour around the mill. The final event will feature a trail of their creations; ‘Millers through the Ages’, a giant spinning wheel, ‘Mice at the Mill’, a giant cat, and much more. We will be celebrating the poetry of Thomas Hardy on handmade lily pads, and providing fabulous musical performance. 

Fish by Ade Class at Yewstock School

Community Drawing Workshop, July 11th

Mapping the Mill through Texture and Touch

Get ‘hands on’ with history with artist Carrie Mason. Participants will gather texture rubbings from the mill and build a collaborative drawing for display at the event. Carrie has exhibited in Poole, Exeter and Bournemouth and run fantastic workshops throughout Dorset.

Suitable for any ages, especially for parents and pre-school children. No drawing experience required. Dress for Mess and Outdoors, the workshop will take place in the project tent. Attend morning (10.30 – 12.30) or afternoon (1.30- 3.30) or both !

A free workshop. To book contact Zilla Brown on or 07767 821021

Junkyard Music Session, July 17th

Do you want to perform with world class Percussionists and be part of the coolest Scrap Band? Join Chris and Stephen from Ensemble Bash and learn with the Masters! These globe trotting legends will be in Stur to celebrate our very special Mill on Saturday 17th July, 2-4pm.

Suitable for ages 15 to 50. In this 2 hour workshop you will learn awesome Brazilian and Cuban rhythms and put together a piece for the Magnificent Mills event the following day (at 1.30). 

We have 20 places on this free workshop. If you want to be involved, email Ellie Velazquez without delay, First six to  reply have the opportunity for a 15 minute 1 to 1 session as a bonus!

We are looking for local people to:

  • Help run the event on July 18th
  • Finish and install artwork on July 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th
  • Anyone with wheelbarrows, carts and ladders is welcome
  • No previous experience is required, just enthusiasm!

Please contact Sarah Butterworth at

Walford Mill, a myriad of artists studios and beautiful river garden

In the Autumn we will be working with Allenborne School and Beaucroft Special School to delve into the history and special environment of Walford Mill, culminating in a community event on October 8th.

We thank our funders