As a bakery, Loaf is very lucky to be able to make connections with mills and farms across the country. As you’ve seen in previous newsletters, we are passionate about developing our knowledge of heritage grain and forming bonds with farmers and millers. But you don’t need to travel far to find a mill with some real heritage: Sarehole Mill.
As a person who didn’t grow up in South Birmingham, I was pretty ignorant of the lore around Sarehole Mill — from Matthew Boulton’s metal flattening to it later inspiring Tolkien’s world-building. And despite moving here many years ago I only got around to investigating the nice green areas I would keep hearing about very recently.
It came about as my wife had recently set herself a goal on the My Virtual Mission app, walking the distance between Paris and Berlin before the end of 2021. Signing up for the Run of The Mill 5k seemed perfect, with the bonus of blowing out some cobwebs from a year spent mostly indoors.
The 5k itself costs £10 to enter. Sarehole Mill is encouraging sponsorship, but it’s not mandatory. You have to start or finish at the Mill, but otherwise you can plan your own route, running, walking or jogging — you just digitally record your distance to show when you collect your medal.
This obviously opened a whole host of options and gave us lots of room to plan a walk that would explore some new areas. We decided to use the Birmingham Tolkien Trail as our template, taking in the Cole valley and Moseley Bog.
We are also avid Geocachers which, if you are unaware, is a digital treasure hunt that is great for families and walkers. There are boxes hidden in plain site of various sizes and difficulty ratings. When found, these containers hold logbooks which you sign with your name and hide again for someone else to find.
We have played for many years and there are a few around Sarehole Mill and south Birmingham, which was a great addition to the walk. There are quite a few in Stirchley as well, and they are usually grouped into walks so you can plan to pick up a few en route.
Afterwards we took a tour of Sarehole Mill itself, and although the water mill is closed for repairs, you can still walk around the mill pond and visit the cafe. The bake house was full of activity as they also sell pizza and there was bread to buy in the shop, which was so great we went back for seconds.
Run of the Mill continues until the 19th September and, as we seem to still be having some warm weather, I really recommend taking the chance to visit. The Loaf team plans on visiting the mill as soon as we are able and look forward to developing a great relationship in the future.