Give yourself the run of the mill

High Fold, Glasshouses - �500,000 with Dacre, Son & Hartley, 01423 711010.

High Fold, Glasshouses - �500,000 with Dacre, Son & Hartley, 01423 711010.

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By John Grainger, Property editor

There’s a lot to recommend converted mill properties; they tend to be solid and well built and are often close to water, which is often a popular feature.

They come in all sorts of sizes and styles, depending on whether they were cornmills, flax mills, sawmills or textile mills. They can be large and detached or small and part of a huge industrial unit.

Knox Mill, Knox Manor, Low Laithe - �325,000 with Nicholls Tyreman, 01423 503076.

Knox Mill, Knox Manor, Low Laithe - �325,000 with Nicholls Tyreman, 01423 503076.

Water-powered mills have existed since at least Roman times, and at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086 there was one for every 300 people in England. By 1300, there were about 17,000 of them.

With industrialisation, many of the old-style mills were made redundant and replaced with large new mills that could employ hundreds, but in time these too were replaced by mains-powered equivalents.

So it’s a happy irony that many old mills are now being fitted with hydroelectric turbines to harness the power of the millstreams once again, often enabling the owners to sell electricity back to the grid.

Although some of the following four properties may have potential for water-powered electricity generation, none of them has a mini power station installed. They are, though, all converted mills – two of them the old, “stand-alone” type, and two of them portions of larger Victorian industrial buildings.

Mill House, Duck Hill, Ripon - �79,950 with Beadnall & Copley, 01765 698100.

Mill House, Duck Hill, Ripon - �79,950 with Beadnall & Copley, 01765 698100.

Mill House in Ripon (below) is on a site long associated with milling – there used to be a mill-pond at the bottom of Duck Hill – and flat 6 is on the second floor of the red-brick conversion.

Conveniently situated for Ripon market place, it has two bedrooms – one double, one single – and windows on three sides, but could do with some modernisation.

Service/maintenance charges are currently around £600 a year, and the annual ground rent is about £100.

Knox Mill at Low Laithe (above) is also part of a larger stone-built building, within the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Old Cornmill, Mill Lane, Spofforth - �675,000 with Andrew Hill, 01423 528528.

The Old Cornmill, Mill Lane, Spofforth - �675,000 with Andrew Hill, 01423 528528.

Built on a hillside, it has two storeys at the front, but four, including the basement garage, at the back.

It has three bedrooms, a sun deck and a small cottage garden, with magnificent views over the surrounding countryside.

It also has a fully integrated security system and two additional allocated parking spaces.

About a mile up the dale, High Fold at Glasshouses (main pic, above) is an example of the other, smaller kind of mill.

Inside, the detached three-bedroom house has exposed stone and stripped pine internal doors, architraves and skirting, as well as its own spring water supply.

Outside, it overlooks its own mill-pond and waterfall, and the paths and banks in the gardens were built from the stone of another former mill when it was dismantled.

Finally, the Old Cornmill (above) at Spofforth is another stone-built gem that has been comprehensively, yet sympathetically, refurbished.

It has an unusual layout, with three of its five bedrooms on the second floor and the two others on the ground floor, along with the study and utility room, leaving the first floor to the kitchen and principal reception rooms.

One of its best features, though, is its gardens, which run to about half an acre and come with riparian rights over 100 yards of the River Crimple.