For over 20 years the Mills Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has organised National Mills Weekend (formerly "National Mills Day"), a celebration of Britain's milling heritage.
Wind and water are sustainable power sources, used for hundreds of years in Britain in the production of natural food.
There are currently more than 100 working mills capable of producing natural, stoneground flour and many of these will be open to the public during National Mills Weekend. In addition, over the weekend, a further 300 mills throughout the country will be welcoming visitors.
SPAB's Windmill Committee was formed in 1931 in response to an alarming decline in the numbers of the country's windmills. Later it included watermills within its interests, and it "encouraged the art of country milling". Still active today the SPAB is the only national amenity society dedicated to the protection of our milling heritage.
Some working mills are more than 300 years old yet still efficiently doing the job in the 21st century that they were built and designed for.
National Mills Weekend 2013 was held on
Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th May.
Some mills work as commercial businesses, while others are
run by enthusiastic volunteers. Fifty years ago, the windmills and
watermills of this country were thought to be in terminal decline,
but now there has been a renaissance in these wonderful reminders
of our past.
In Sussex, windmills and watermills have not only produced meal flour, but have made gunpowder as those at Battle, or pumped water like the Coultershaw Beam Pump that once pumped water into Petworth.
Many watermills in Sussex produced a variety of products such as linseed oil, cattle cake, oil dressed leather and drove fulling stocks for fulling wool.
Today in Sussex, most of those that have survived are those that produced meal flour.
at Windmill Hill Windmill
Open Day at Nutley Windmill : Photo by Nick Linazasoro