Buildings for making and mending things

Some places have been designed for making or fixing things or doing particular tasks. The structures have a job to do, otherwise the process might not work! In the past villages had several buildings where things were made. Now most of these special buildings have been altered so people can live in them.

Do you recognise any of these Quantock buildings and structures? Can you tell what special jobs they were made for? Click to see if you were right!

  • This old photo shows the blacksmith standing outside his smithy in  Kilve. Every village had a blacksmith to shoe horses, make and mend tools and farm equipment, make gates and fencing. Today the old smithy is an ordinary house.
  • The Old Malthouse, Enmore.  Malt is grain that has been allowed to germinate and then dried to stop it growing any more. It is used in brewing. The malthouse was a big building where this process was done and the malt was stored. Now it has been altered to make a house to live in.
  • Manor Mill Pond, East Quantoxhead. Every village had at least one mill to grind corn. Most of them were water powered, so they had to build mill ponds to hold the water. More about Water and the Quantocks
  • Nether Mill, Kilve This large mill was water-powered so it needed to have a supply of water. The waterwheel was on the outside of this building. It turned heavy millstones inside, to grind wheat into flour. Flour was stored here as well, so the building needed to be strong, solid and rodent-proof if possible!
  • Old Bakehouse  Enmore. Most villages had a bakehouse, using flour from the local mill to bake bread for the local families. Some people would make their own bread at home and take it to the bakehouse to be cooked.
  • Plainsfield Court has adapted and modernized over the centuries, but it is still a busy working place. They still make cider here.
  • Pepperhill Farmhouse was used as a laundry for Quantock Lodge. The walls and floors were altered to make large spaces for drying linen. The round building was a dairy. Since then it has been altered again and now the farmer’s family live here.
  • Old Tannery, Holford. A tannery is where animal skins are turned into leather.  You need a lot of oak bark for this. At Holford there was a saw pit for cutting up the oak logs, a bark mill, tan pits, a glue house, counting house and carpenter's shop. All the machinery was powered by the waterwheel you can see here.
  • This lonely ruined building used to contain a large static steam engine. In the 19th century people mined copper here at Dodington. The engine was used to power the winding gear for the mine shaft. More about Dodington copper mines
  • Old Coach House, now a garage, Nether Stowey. In the early 20th century, motor cars began to replace horse-drawn vehicles.  People no longer needed stables, coach houses and blacksmiths. Instead they needed petrol stations and car mechanics.
  • When people started using cars and tractors instead of horses, many village blacksmiths became car mechanics instead. This garage at Kingston St Maru was built where the blacksmith’s used to be.
  • This peculiar structure near Kilve beach is all that is left of a small factory called an oil retort. It was built in 1924. People collected shale from Kilve Beach. They heated the shale in the retort to extract oil from it. They hoped to make lots of money, but it wasn’t very efficient so the business failed.
  • Lime kilns are big ovens for burning limestone. You see ruined limekilns all over the Quantocks especially near the coast. This one, at Hawkridge, has been restored.
  • Fire station, Nether Stowey.
Fires sometimes break out on the hills. The fire brigade and the AONB  service need to be prepared. This is where the fire engines are kept, always ready for action.