Our Secretary Cynthia recently visited Finch Foundry and has shared her experience here.
A little gem not to be missed.
Like most NT members I get used to expecting my visits to properties to consist of grand houses, extensive grounds and gardens and priceless works of art.
Finch Foundry is completely different. Once a thriving family run business it produced 400 farming and mining tools every day, until in 1960 the roof collapsed and production ceased. The building was taken over in 1994 by the National Trust, who have preserved its industrial heritage thus securing a little piece of West Country history to inform and enthrall its visitors daily.
Finch Foundry is on the main road in the village of Sticklepath, which was previously most famous for the four hour holiday-season traffic jams, prior to construction of the new A30.
You have to ‘breathe in’ as you drive through the narrowest of entrances, (the exit is fine), and for larger vehicles you may prefer parking along the road.
Once safely parked you enter the world of this family-run business and discover details about of the Finch family and their workers lives.
The forge and carpenters’ workshops are still fully operational and, if you stay for one of the volunteers excellent hourly talks, you will be able to see the waterwheels in action, driving the tilt hammer and working the machinery just as it always did.
Exhibitions of tools, photographs, the story of ‘Old Uncle Tom Cobly’ are displayed and you might even discover the origins of ‘putting your nose to the grindstone’!
Enjoy refreshments in the small NT tea room, wander through the garden, gift shop and adjoining Quaker burial ground, or stroll into Sticklepath village for a riverside walk pub and shops.
Next time you are driving along the A30 between Devon and Cornwall make the short detour to Finch Foundry. You won’t be disappointed