Knighton Mill

Knighton Mill is located in the Cranborne Chase AONB. With evidence of the original mill dating back to Domesday, the site included a series of historic waterways, and our challenge was to design and build a new home that would sit sensitively into this landscape. An existing mill was not listed and had undergone extensive modifications over the years, making it difficult to salvage. However, our client was keen to recognise the history of the site and the earlier building, so we designed a new mill house that referenced the original and balanced this with an impressive contemporary glass wing.

The logistics for the groundworks and superstructure of this new build required significant feats of engineering and meticulous attention to detail, including a temporary coffer dam and river diversion, followed by careful and considered rebuilding and reinforcement of river walls.

The main building was built using traditional materials, such as rough-cut sandstone plinths with Bath Stone ashlar stone blocks above. A handmade red clay roof, finished with reclaimed finials and ridges, echoes the original mill's design. The orientation of the house, dictated by the surrounding waterways, allowed for a better sense of arrival for the more traditional part of the building.

Meanwhile, the modern glass wing, positioned behind the south-facing new mill to optimise solar shading, was raised on slender concrete piles to give the appearance of floating over the water. The steel frame for this part of the house includes the slimmest possible columns that sit behind clear runs of glazing and cantilevered areas to corners to minimise any interruption to the views. The large floor to ceiling glass panes were clamped to the steel structure using bespoke angle brackets at each level. This specialist glass combines excellent solar protection and light transmission with outstanding thermal insulation.

This part of the house looks out across the water to the garden designed by landscape architect Andy Sturgeon, and to the countryside beyond. Water cascading between levels and under the house is a feature of the impressive main entrance, where a fully glazed lobby links the two parts of the building. A double height knapped flint wall separates the traditional from the modern.

The green roof of the glass wing promotes biodiversity and reduces surface water runoff. Integrated bat boxes and roof tiles and new wildlife boxes in surrounding trees support local conservation efforts.

With accessibility a priority for our client, the design needed to accommodate level access in certain areas alongside raised structures to withstand potential flooding, while also remaining wheelchair friendly. An internal lift provides access to the upper floor.

The use of locally sourced materials where possible, insulated to the highest standards, renewable technologies and a modern, efficient heating system all combine to create an impressive thermal performance and minimal carbon footprint. All light fittings are low-energy luminaries and a water borehole provides a sustainable water source. With efficiencies prioritised throughout, the property achieves an impressive EPC Rating of B.

Project Statistics

  • 66% of energy produced on-site


B Rating
Air Permeability
4.55 (Low)
Operational Energy
64.3 kWh/m2/yr (All Electricity)


Residential PDF



Sam George
Mike Anderson
Senior Architect


Structural Engineer
Centrespace Design
DTM Interiors
Services Engineer
Interior Designer
Helen Smith
Landscape Design
Andy Sturgeon
Planning Consultant


Shortlisted – House of the Year
British Homes Awards 2024
More: Residential