Welcome to the home page of the Wessex Mills Group. The Group was formed in 2003 as a centre for the milling heritage of Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. We meet regularly, often in one of our local mills, and we welcome new members and their guests. For membership and other information please find out more about us.
Petition to save Throop Mill
Boar Mill visit update
The Group's visit to Boar Mill has changed to 3rd August. More details are now available on our Programme page. Note that places on this visit must be booked in advance.
The Traditional Cornmillers Guild have commissioned a documentary on traditional corn milling, which can be watched on their website at www.tcmg.org.uk/mill-films. Also on that page are a set of short videos about their mills.
Featured Mill ‒ Wilton Windmill
Photo © Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Wilton Windmill (near Wilton, in Wiltshire), is the only working windmill in Wessex, and one of only a very small number of preserved windmills in the region. It was built in 1821, apparently in response to the closure of several watermills in the area as a result of the building of the Kennet and Avon canal. After working for around a century it closed in the 1920s and fell into disrepair. In 1971 it was bought by Wiltshire County Council and leased to the Wiltshire Historic Buildings Trust, which restored it to working order between 1972 and 1976.
The five-storey tower mill boasts two canvas and two patent sails, which were built from scratch when the mill was restored. The cap is made of wrought iron plates on iron ribs, the metal of the plates being original to the mill but melted down and re-rolled subsequent to the main restoration. The stones were bought new at the time of restoration (the originals can be seen at the base of the mill).
Now owned by the new Wiltshire Council and managed by the Wilton Windmill Society, the mill is open on Sundays and bank holidays during the summer season, but visitors can view the outside at any time. The mill produces wholegrain flour which is available from the mill and local shops. It has appeared in BBC's Victorian Farm Christmas (2009) as well as a short film starring pop group The Style Council made in 1986!
Nearby Crofton Pumping Station is also worth a visit, housing the oldest beam engine in the world still capable of doing its original work.