The Mill – click any image for full size
“Because it all started with a Mill and a sink. Welcome to our house, decorated by us. Hope you like it as much as we do!” So reads the description for The Mill, the homestead region designed by Maxie Daviau and Shakespeare (Skinnynilla). And to be sure, there is absolutely nothing not to like about this picturesque location, positively packed with sights and photo opportunities, as well as offering numerous places to simply sit and relax.
The landing point delivers visitors close to the centre of the region, on its eastern, lowland side. The fork in the dirt track where you arrive is an open invitation to start exploring, forward toward the rugged uplands of the west side of the region, eastwards and south towards a wooden windmill, or north towards the lighthouse sitting on a shoulder of the hills.
Caitlyn and I opted to follow the track north, towards the rocky hills, a set of stone steps leading us upwards. As we climbed, and amidst the singing of the birds and distant caw of gulls, came music of a different kind carried on the breeze. This comes from a little radio sitting within a little shack, slightly tired in appearance, wood bleached and weathered, tin roof rusting.
Tired it may look, but the shack is clearly home to someone. Flowers are tended in buckets outside, a hammock sways in the breeze and washing hangs on the lines to dry. A garden hose and sprinkler curled around an old tree stump raised on one side of the shack suggests whoever lives here enjoys a slightly bohemian touch to their life, and happily so, given the books and general bric-a-brac scattered around.
Behind the shack, a path leads on upwards to the tops of the rugged hills, the way marked by a rope path. Here sits old ruins, split by a deep box gorge. To one side sits the remnants of a small castle or fortified house, now occupied by trees, bent as with age by long exposure to the wind, their stooped forms suggesting they are ancient guardians of this place. Across the gorge, and reached by the stone span of a bridge, sits a ruined chapel and nearby tower, another path from them leading back down to the lowlands for those who wish to explore in that direction.
To the north of the homely little shack, the path will take visitors up over the rocky hills or down stone steps and past a walled garden and greenhouse and, via more steps, to the lone figure of the whitewashed lighthouse. With the warm and comfortable lounge and bedroom inside, this would seem to be the rest of the home started at the shack, the cosy little garden forming a homely link between the two.
A beach beckons from below the lighthouse, and can be most quickly be reached via a zip slide which passes over a small inlet. Stone and board paths then led you onward, over water or across sand, towards the old wooden mill, sails slowly turning as it faces the revolving eye of the lighthouse across the land.
Fabulously and naturally landscaped while avoiding a reliance on mesh to achieve its look, The Mill is an incredibly eye-catching environment. There is far more to see then I’ve described here, including lots of special little touches (such as the Triumph TR3 sitting nonchalantly at the entrance to the gorge, the tea and toast in the shack, the little union flags all pointing to a certain Englishness here…). And when you have finished exploring and photographing, there are plenty of opportunities to sit and relax and snuggle; something Caitlyn and I did after all our wanderings, passing the evening chatting together and simply enjoying the sights and sounds of the island.
- The Mill (Rated: Moderate)