Essex County Council owns or leases seven historic mills in the county. There are four windmills and two watermills which have been fully restored and are open to the public. The seventh mill (an unusual steam mill) is in the process of restoration.
The Windmills in Essex leaflet provides more information about the history of Essex windmills.
The mills are open to the public once a month from April to September. Please see the information on the individual mills for details. The mills are also open for the National Mills Weekend which is the second Sunday of May each year and for the Heritage Open Day on the second Sunday of September each year. The mills are open from 2pm till 5pm for both events.
The mills can be visited by school parties and other interested groups at any time by prior arrangement. For more information, particularly regarding educational opportunities, contact the Historic Environment team
The following mills are owned and operated by Essex County Council:
Alderford water mill, Sible Hedingham
A medium-sized, 18th century, timber framed mill on the River Colne. It has a breast shot waterwheel and four pairs of millstones, two of these formerly steam driven. The exterior, the water wheel and some of the milling machinery has been restored.
The mill is open to the public on our behalf, by the Friends of Alderford mill. It is open on the second Sunday of each month from April to September, between 2pm and 5pm.
The mill’s postcode is CO9 3HZ. There is limited local parking nearby.
Beeleigh steam mill, Maldon
A steam-powered mill, dated 1845. It has been held on a 99 year lease since 1996, from its owners Essex and Suffolk Water. The mill has a Wentworth beam engine, an 'elephant' boiler and drive to five pairs of millstones (themselves missing). Also included are the base walls of a burnt down former watermill. Some holding repairs have been carried out, but a great deal more needs to be done.
Progress on restoration has been delayed due to the presence of bats, but these have been relocated to a newly built bat roost nearby. This mill is not yet open to the public regularly, although occasional visits by special interest groups may be possible.
A small post mill, dated 1755. It has four spring sails (without shutters), a tailpole and one pair of millstones. It is not workable, because of its location among trees and cottages.
The mill is open on our behalf, by the Finchingfield Society. It is open on the third Sunday of each month, from April to September, between 2pm and 5pm.
The mill’s postcode is CM7 4NA. There is limited local parking nearby.
A medium-sized post mill, dated 1807. It has four floors, four spring sails, a tail pole and two pairs of millstones. It is in full working order and makes flour occasionally. The whole mill on its post can still be turned to the wind by pushing on the long tail pole, and this is something which children on school visits can try for themselves.
The mill is open to the public on our behalf, by the Friends of Mountnessing Mill. It is open on the third Sunday of each month, from April to September, between 2pm and 5pm.
The village hall car park is adjacent, and there is room for picnics on the playing fields near the mill. The mill’s postcode is CM15 0TZ.
A medium-sized brick tower mill, c.1816. It has four patent sails, a fantail and three pairs of millstones. It is in working order, but only has a half set of shutters. It is worked occasionally. There are five floors, which can all be visited, and there is room for picnics in the mill grounds
The mill is open to the public on our behalf, by the Friends of Stock Windmill. It is open on the second Sunday of each month from April to September, between 2pm and 5pm.
The mill’s postcode is CM4 9NE. There is limited local parking nearby.
Thorrington tide mill
A medium sized, timber framed, tide driven watermill, dated 1831. This has a breast shot waterwheel and three pairs of millstones. It is one of only a handful of tide mills still in working order in this country and grinds occasionally.
The mill is open on our behalf, by the Guardians of Thorrington Tide Mill. It is open on Bank Holidays and the last Sunday of each month, from April to September, between 2pm and 5pm.
There is a small, County owned car park nearby, and the mill is adjacent to a public footpath that runs out across the coastal marshes.
The mill’s postcode is CO7 8JL.