I recently discovered Bourton Mill through a couple of great websites called, The Urban Explorer and 28 Days Later. These websites both focus on urban exploration. The Urban Explorer is based more local to myself in Dorset, whilst 28 Days Later is more of a forum for discussions.
Whilst reading each website, I came across Bourton Mill, located in Bourton, North Dorset near Gillingham. I had never heard of this place until a few days before we went to explore and what an urban gem!
Bourton Mill was originally used in 1800’s, supplying sailcloth to the British and Russian navy. In the 1860’s, it was taken over by E S Hindley & Sons, a company with a wide range of products, including steam lorries which were transported worldwide.
During WW1, Bourton Mill became a military weapons factory, which went on to manufacture 3 million Mills Bombs (hand grenades). In 1917, a dam located upriver of the River Stour burst, leading the factory and machinery to be completely flooded and damaged. The operation eventually ceased. In late 1920’s the company and premises was bought by Alfred Dodman & Co and manufacturing moved to King’s Lynne.
Six years later and the facility reopened for Freeman Foods, a dried milk processing plant which continued to produce throughout WW2. Freeman Foods closed it’s doors in 1998 and the mill has been abandoned ever since.
The abandoned factory has been completely destroyed. Graffiti almost covers every wall, random junk is pretty much everywhere and the mill is just in a complete derelict state.
There are some features and machinery which are still in place, just rusty and covered in graffiti, but that is exactly what I expected.
There is water running through the factory, coming from a lake at the back on the premises. The sound of running water is obvious throughout the factory and it makes this abandonment a pretty awesome find.
There is now metal fencing and wooden walls located around the premises, but it is fairly easy to find an entrance and once you are inside, it’s surprisingly fairly quiet. We visited for just over two hours without seeing anyone else – Ideal!
Be careful when visiting as some of the ceilings and stairs are a bit unstable, but it’s pretty safe to wander around. There are plans to demolish the factory and to build multiple houses, so get exploring before it’s too late!
The factory is located on Factory Hill, Gillingham, SP8 5AY and we parked in a nearby road and walked to the abandonment.
Click here for more photos!
Have you visited? What did you think?