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Farmers market facing closure saved by new home at working watermill

PUBLISHED: 17:18 17 May 2019 | UPDATED: 21:20 17 May 2019

Bayfield Farmer’s Market is moving from the Bayfield Estate to Lethingsett Watermill. Photo: Agnes Wild

Bayfield Farmer's Market is moving from the Bayfield Estate to Lethingsett Watermill. Photo: Agnes Wild

Agnes Wild

A popular north Norfolk farmers market has been saved from closure after a new venue stepped in to offer it a home.

Letheringsett watermill is the only working watermill in Norfolk. Photo: Michelle ThurlowLetheringsett watermill is the only working watermill in Norfolk. Photo: Michelle Thurlow

Bayfield Farmers' Market has been based in a barn on the Bayfield Estate on the north Norfolk coast since June last year.

And the news the market was closing was met with an outcry from disappointed shoppers, who took to social media to describe it as a shame for the community.

But now organisers have announced the market has been saved, after Norfolk's only working water mill, in Letheringsett, stepped in to offer it a new home, and a new name.

Aggie Wild, who organises the market, which focuses on local artisan produce, said: "We weren't able to continue but Michelle from Letheringsett Watermill offered us the space.

Bayfield Farmer’s Market is moving from the Bayfield Estate to Lethingsett Watermill. Photo: Agnes WildBayfield Farmer’s Market is moving from the Bayfield Estate to Lethingsett Watermill. Photo: Agnes Wild

"She's trying to get the mill on the map and bring it to life and she's got lots of exciting plans."

Mrs Wild, 31, added: "All the small businesses do really well out of the market.

"It's been really busy and well received.

"We had regular customers and traders who were saying 'we've got people coming back again and again'.

Bayfield Farmer’s Market is moving from the Bayfield Estate to Lethingsett Watermill. Photo: Agnes WildBayfield Farmer’s Market is moving from the Bayfield Estate to Lethingsett Watermill. Photo: Agnes Wild

"We're just changing the name - Letheringsett Farmers Market."

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The market was the brainchild of Bayfield Estate owners, Roger and Caroline Coomes, who said they wish the new venture well.

Mr Coomes said: "We had a large barn which for many years was tenanted out.

Bayfield Farmer’s Market is moving from the Bayfield Estate to Lethingsett Watermill. Photo: Agnes WildBayfield Farmer’s Market is moving from the Bayfield Estate to Lethingsett Watermill. Photo: Agnes Wild

"When he found new premises, we weren't quite sure what to do with it, so we tried a market.

"We ran it for a year and it was extremely successful, but we could never get enough producers.

"To make it pay, it needed about 35 producers every single month."

He added: "It had its moment and it was quite fun and hard work - there's no point in flogging a dead horse."

Bayfield Farmer’s Market is moving from the Bayfield Estate to Lethingsett Watermill. Photo: Agnes WildBayfield Farmer’s Market is moving from the Bayfield Estate to Lethingsett Watermill. Photo: Agnes Wild

And Michelle Thurlow, owner of Letheringsett Watermill, said: "I knew it was such a popular one.

"I was following them on Instagram and I saw they were closing so I contacted Aggie.

"At the mill we're all about local produce and artisan produce."

Letheringsett Watermill Farmers' Market will take place on the third Saturday of every month, from 9am to 1pm at the Letheringsett Watermill.

The next date will be Saturday, June 15. Any enquiries should be directed to lwmfarmersmarket@outlook.com.

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