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Knockando Woolmill sits in the Spey Valley, on the same site it has occupied for over 230 years. Fresh, contemporary designs are woven alongside traditional tweeds and classic woollen blankets - all produced with the same attention to detail and skilled craftsmanship that has been at the heart of the Woolmill since the beginning.

Our Story

'Knockando' derives from Scottish Gaelic Cnoc Cheannachd, meaning "Hill of Commerce".

First listed as the 'Wauk Mill' in parish records from 1784, Knockando Woolmill was always at the heart of the community, with local farmers bringing their fleeces to be converted into fabric or knitting yarn. As the industrial revolution crept north, the Woolmill acquired new pieces of equipment, mechanising the labour-intensive processes of carding and spinning that had always been done by hand.

One of the last district mills its kind, the Woolmill was passed down through generations of families up until 2000. By then, the strain of continuous production had taken its toll, and it was recognised that a fundamental overhaul was needed to save the precious machinery and buildings from ruin. The Trust was set up in 2000, and for 12 years they worked hard to renovate the Grade A listed site.

Following the extensive restoration project, during which the Victorian machinery was painstakingly dismantled, repaired and rebuilt, the Woolmill is once again fully operational. Open seasonally since 2012, visitors can experience the sights and sounds of a working Woolmill, learn the rich history of the site and browse the range of quality woollen throws, scarves and accessories.


Early 1970s

The Waulk Mill

William and Anne Grant are listed in Parish records as “fulling” wool from local sheep at Knockando Waulk Mill.

'Waulking' means cloth fulling/shrinking but their activities may also have included one or all of wool washing, dyeing and carding.

Simon Fraser

Simon Fraser, a hand loom weaver and local farmer, buys the Mill.

A. Smith and Son

Parish records now show the Mill being owned by Alexander Smith. Alexander Smith forms A. Smith and Son, the company name until 1975.

From this point, the Mill was continuously owned by same family – including nephew Duncan Stewart – until 1976.

Modernisation at the Mill

An ambitious programme of modernisation takes place at the Mill with a waterwheel installed and processes mechanised.

In 1900 carding machinery and the spinning mule are purchased from the Laidlaw mill in Rothiemay.

World War One

Hundreds of blankets are supplied to the War Office for the troops.

A drying shed had to be built to dry the blankets in bad weather in order to meet the demand.

Duncan Stewart

Duncan Stewart begins working in the Mill.

In 1938 James Smith died and Duncan Stewart and his aunt, Emma, go into partnership and run the company.

The Flood

The Mill suffers a significant setback when part of the weaving shed is washed away in a flood.

Weaving was undertaken in the open air until the mill could be repaired.

Newcomers to the Mill

Hugh Jones, John Widdaker and a number of other undergraduates touring the area begin learning to weave under the instruction of Duncan Stewart.

In 1976 Hugh Jones takes over the Mill from Duncan Stewart and runs the Mill for the next 30 years.

The Knockando Woolmill Trust

The Knockando Woolmill Trust is formed.

In 2004 the Mill is nominated as the Scottish finalist for the BBC programme Restoration.

Official Opening

HRH Prince Charles officially opens the nearly restored Mill.

The restoration was fully completed in 2014.

Woolmill Wins EU Prize for Cultural Heritage

Knockando Woolmill is one of the winners of the 2016 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s highest honour in the heritage field.

The Woolmill received the award for the category 'Conservation'.

Modernisation at the Mill

Further modernisation at the Mill with the introduction of computer aided design software.

The first annual New Woven Textile Designer Award competition takes place with Jessica Cutler (graduate, Textiles in Practice, Manchester School of Art) the winner.

The Knockando Woolmill Trust

About The Trust

The Knockando Woolmill Trust is a registered Scottish Charity which was set up in 2000 in order to rescue the unique and historic site. The aim of the Trust is to promote and educate people about its unique heritage and to ensure the Woolmill survives the next 200 years.

Find out more about The Trust.

The Restoration

The Trust spent 10 hard years developing the restoration plan and raising the £3.55 million needed to repair and restore buildings and the machinery. Most of the work was completed in June 2012 when we opened our doors to the public.

Find out more about The Restoration.

The Future

Although the main task of restoring the Woolmill has been completed, the Trust seeks active help with fundraising for specific projects and improvements. Volunteers are also needed to help with some of our activities such as keeping the garden under control.

Find out how you can support the Trust.

About the Company

Since 2012

Nestled in the heart of Speyside, Knockando Woolmill has ensured the craft of carding, spinning and weaving with local wool has been passed down through generations. Today that heritage is represented in the tweeds, fresh contemporary designs and classic woollen blankets being produced on this carefully protected site.

Made in Scotland

By creating exclusive, small batch yarns and fabrics for today’s luxury market, we are securing the future of the methods, skills, traditions and knowledge that have existed on this beautiful Scottish heritage site, since 1784.

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