Winchester City Mill; a very old working watermill

I had the good fortune to visit Winchester City Mill while in Hampshire last weekend.  The watermill has been on the site for a very long time and is the oldest working watermill in the UK.  The wheel is underneath the building, and we had to cross a little bridge across a place where there used to be another waterwheel.  The water was racing through the gap which might explain why a channel leading to a waterwheel is known as a mill race. The gushing was  very loud indeed and quite ferocious so I kept well back.  I was a tad worried that I might slip through the railings and fall in.IMG_8638Further along was the big waterwheel, which just keeps on going round and round as the water runs through it and keeps it turning.  I thought this would be a good place for a selfie.IMG_8654Just alongside it there were lots of big cogs and gears.  They were powering the mill stone that was up above grinding wheat into flour.  On the right of the photo below you can see a big white sack on a stool that was collecting up all the freshly ground flour.IMG_8647There was a sign with lots of interesting information about the workings of the water wheel.  I spent a few minutes reading it. Winchester City Mill has an undershot wheel.IMG_8650The mill is on the River Itchen which must have very clean water as trout and otters live there. The otters often visit the mill area.  There was a little ramp and a special hole in the wall for them to pass through.  I didn’t see any otters while I was there as they tend to visit at night.  You can find out more about Winchester otters here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/winchester-city-mill/features/see-our-inner-city-ottersIMG_8649The mill stones were upstairs hidden in a special wooden case with the wheat being fed in from a hopper above.  If the wheat runs out the bell rings to alert the miller as it isn’t good for mill stones to turn without anything to grind.IMG_8656There was also a pair of bear-sized millstones so I decided to have a go at grinding some wheat.  It was very hard work and I only managed to produce a tiny amount of flour, certainly not enough to make a cake.IMG_8660I had a look at the the river Itchen as it rushed towards the mill while my human held onto my legs……just in case!IMG_8669I was delighted to find the flour being bagged up to be sold in the shop.IMG_8665I left the mill with a big smile on my face thinking about the scones that I would make with my stone ground flour.

IMG_8671

Horace the Alresford Bear 25/8/16

To find out more about Winchester City Mill go to https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/winchester-city-mill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s