From a pristine, unspoilt beach … past remaining tracts of indigenous forest … to a 19th century complex just outside Plettenberg Bay that promotes fine South African craftsmanship, art and design. We started in Brenton-on-Sea on the Garden Route and finished at the Old Nick Village in Plett.

The core buildings of Old Nick Village were built on a farm by an Englishman in the 1880s. Down the line another Englishman established a secondhand furniture shop in the old Plett gaol, referred to as “the old nick”, slang for a gaol in his home country. Also, most of the furniture he sold wasn’t in “good nick”. So when he eventually moved to the farm, he called his shop Old Nick. And that’s where it all started …

At the Old Nick is Mungo Mill, where a collection of 16 restored antique looms from different weaving eras is installed: a working cotton mill using only natural fibres and, wherever possible, South African-sourced yarn.

The striking architecture of the mill consists of a wooden slatted “skin” that wraps around the elevated walkway. It was inspired by overlapping warp threads which, from a certain angle, you will see on the heddles (frames through which yarn is threaded) of a loom.

For every new textile product a limited run is woven on the restored antique looms. Visitors can watch the process from a walkway along an elevated viewing deck that eventually enters the mill. Moats alongside the exterior of the façade are always integral to old milling complexes.