The next mill visited was Bolebrook Watermill, also known as Bolebroke Watermill, which is just over the border in East Sussex. Although used as a Guest House, the actual watermill still has some of its machinery in place, however only the wooden shaft of the waterwheel survives. Mr. Cooper who owns the watermill was keen to show members a number of artefacts he had acquired. One example was a cast iron pot with a handle and three legs, although one of the legs had broken off.
Our next stop was for lunch at the Sussex Oak at Blackham. Many members had Baguettes here and Shepherd Neame's beer before moving on to the next mill, which was the watermill at Speldhurst in Kent. This mill is located near the Saracen superstore, which sells animal food products. Parts of the watermill are still intact, but in poor condition. Inside some of the machinery exists, which was inspected by most members. Adjacent to the mill could be seen the mill pond still full of water. It was interesting to see some early photographs and newspaper cuttings about the mill on display in the superstore.
The next mill was to be the black smock windmill at West Kingsdown. On the way however, soon after leaving Speldhurst, we passed Barden Watermill and also stopped at Bidborough Windmill. Bidborough Mill is now just an empty tower, and the area around it is a building site, as four houses and flats are to be constructed.
At West Kingsdown we were met by Mrs. Heaton who opened the mill for us to inspect the internal machinery. As we approached the mill, the flowers in the cottage garden opposite provided a blaze of colour. The mill was moved from Farningham in 1880 and was in use until 1928. One of the features of this mill, which was also observed at Meopham Green Windmill the next mill on the itinerary, was that the cap revolved on the tower as a dead curb arrangement and looking up from ground level the gear teeth of the rack could be seen attached to the outside circumference of the tower, with the mating worm rotating in a horizontal plane within the cap.
On arrival at Meopham Green, some members took refreshments at the local pub opposite before and after visiting the mill. Meopham Green Windmill is a black smock mill and was built in 1821. She has been restored as a working windmill and is unusual as she (like West Blatchington Windmill in Hove) has a six sided tower . Members inspected the machinery and other exhibits, including a fine model of the mill herself.
The last mill visited on the tour was the black post mill at Keston. However it was about 5 o'clock now so rush hour traffic was encountered along the A21 at Farnborough, therefore our arrival at Keston Windmill was later than anticipated. Once Brian had obtained the key, the trestle arrangement in the roundhouse was inspected before climbing the steps in to the mill herself. It was observed that the winding method was by tailpole with a talthur fitted to raise the steps. Once inside the mill it was noted that all the machinery was in place. The mill was built in 1716 making her Kent's oldest surviving windmill. However although stocks are fitted to the windshaft, there are no sweeps attached to them.
The mill tour finished here at 6.30 p.m. Peter Hill thanked Brian and Robert Pike for an excellent and interesting tour of mills in this part of Kent and then Members then made their way home.