With of the Chilterns Tourism Network
VISIT these gentle giants on the Chiltern ridges: working watermills at Ford End, a typical small farm mill of the late 1800s, and Redbournbury Mill and Bakery on the River Ver – milling and baking from crop to crust. One thing they have in common is that they were all rescued and restored by volunteers. We salute them!
Ford End Watermill at Ivinghoe was recorded in 1616, but is certainly much older, and remained in use until 1963. Restored by volunteers, it is the only remaining watermill working with original machinery in Buckinghamshire.
It retains all the atmosphere of a small farm mill of the late 1800s and has an unusual feature – a sheepwash in the tailrace below the mill. Washing made the fleece easier to shear and increased its value. Stoneground wholemeal flour is on sale during milling demonstrations. Milling events and opening times on the website: www.fordendwatermill. co.uk
Redbournbury Watermill is a working mill producing a range of stoneground organic flours, principally from locally grown grains. It is run by a team of dedicated volunteers, having been extensively restored following a fire in 1987. When the present owners bought the mill from the Crown, it had been unused since the 1950s. At this stage the mill was well preserved, although it did need considerable repairs, providing a unique historical record of an early Victorian watermill.
On the night of 22nd August 1987 disaster struck. Fire broke out in the roof of the mill only a few days after restoration work had begun.
It destroyed most of the interior of the mill and much of the top floor of the house. With considerable skill and bravery the main gearing on the ground floor was saved by the fire brigade, making rebuilding possible. Milling events and opening times on the website: www.redbournburymill. co.uk
Hawridge Windmill which is also known as Cholesbury Windmill is a converted tower mill in Hawridge. The first mill on the site, known as the Hawridge Wind and Steam Mill, was a smock mill constructed in 1863 by the Norwich Wind and Steam Company, who also installed a steam engine and built an engine house with a tall chimney. second