1220-2020: Flax Project

Would you like to be a part of our 1220–2020 Project by growing some beautiful blue flax?

In 2020 Heron Corn Mill will celebrate 800 years of milling on the site of the current mill, and over the next 18 months an exciting Heritage Lottery Funded project will explore the mill site’s diverse past which has included the production of linen, the production and processing of grain, and papemaking.

The 1220-2020 project will see both mill visitors and our established groups the Mill Hoppers, older people’s craft group, sewing groups, and community baking groups come together to explore the site’s medieval history through the growing and processing of flax, papermaking, the baking of bread, and the use of Minecraft.

The ‘Flax to Linen’ part of the 1220-2020 project aims to bring small scale flax growing and fibre production back to the Beetham and Milnthorpe area – and across the UK with the help of visitors to the Mill – for the duration of the project and beyond. Flax will also be processed into linen cloth for inclusion in our exciting ‘Medieval Linen’ art work, which will be created in 2020.

For centuries the beautiful blue bloom of the flax flower was a common sight in the fields and gardens of our local area and across the UK. This is because the linen cloth, strong twine and rope made from the flax plants were everyday utilities before cotton began to dominate the post industrialised world. Flax was grown and processed on a domestic and small agricultural scale during the medieval period in the Milnthorpe and Beetham area, with the last flax and hemp mill on the river Bela closing in 1884.

Heron Corn Mill would like to invite you to be part of our nationwide flax growing project and we are giving away ‘Flax Pax’ which contains all of the seeds and information that you will need to grow a patch of beautiful blue flax blooms in your own garden or on your allotment. Flax is not a fussy plant and is easy to grow in any well drained sunny spot. The seeds are sown in late March or early April and the flax plant blooms in June/July. If the flax is to be processed for fibre, it is pulled about a month after it has bloomed.

Each Flax Pax will include:

• Enough flax seed to cover ½ sq/m of cultivated ground;

• Full sowing, growing and harvesting instructions;

• A code that will give optional membership to the closed community ‘Flax Pax 1220-2020’ Facebook Group which will offer tips and support and provide an opportunity to share success and ask questions;

• Information about how to return the flax plants to us to be processed into linen cloth and then included in our exciting ‘Medieval Linen’ art work to be created in 2020.

Return of the flax plants is optional.

Flax Pax’ are free and if you would like to grow some flax please complete the form located HERE and return it to Heron Corn Mill to register your interest and indicate how many ‘Flax Pax’ you would like. If you are able to grow a large area of flax (over 5 sq/m) to support our project please contact Heron Corn Mill for a special large area ‘Flax Pax’. We will require you to return the flax plants to us for processing.

‘Flax Pax’ will be available to collect from Heron Corn Mill from the beginning of February. If you would like us to post your ‘Flax Pax’ please include a minimum donation of £1 to cover postage and packing.


1220-2020: Flax to Linen Project Public Meeting

There will be a special introductory public meeting in the barn on Friday 1st February at 2pm. The meeting is open to everyone, and will be a chance to learn more about flax growing and processing, the flax/linen activities that will take place at Heron Corn Mill, and how you will be able to get involved. At the meeting you will also be able to find out about other aspects of the ‘1220-2020: 800 Years of Milling’ heritage lottery funded project.