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National Mills Weekend is a vibrant event in the UK, where hundreds of windmills and watermills open their doors to the public.

This special weekend brings together history enthusiasts, families, and curious visitors to explore these remarkable structures.

You can enjoy guided tours, see mill machinery in action, and even take home freshly milled flour. It’s a fun and educational experience for everyone involved.

This celebration highlights the importance of preserving these mills, which once powered various industries before the advent of steam and electricity.

The event emphasizes the cultural and historical significance of mills, showcasing their role in industrial development.

By opening these mills to the public, organizers aim to raise awareness and appreciation for the craft of milling and the work of those who maintain these historical buildings.

National Mills Weekend also serves as an educational platform, offering visitors insights into the engineering marvels of the past.

It inspires new generations to learn about and pursue careers in heritage conservation and millwrighting. The event’s activities, including workshops and demonstrations, provide a hands-on understanding of how mills operate and their contribution to the local economy and culture.​

History of National Mills Weekend

National Mills Weekend began in 1984. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) started this event.

SPAB’s Mills Section wanted to highlight the importance of preserving mills and raise awareness about the historical and cultural value of windmills and watermills.

SPAB encouraged mill owners to open their doors to the public. The first event saw a few mills participating, but it quickly grew.

Each year, more mills joined, attracting visitors from all over. The initiative helped people appreciate the craftsmanship involved in maintaining these structures.

National Mills Weekend is now a key event in the heritage calendar. It brings together communities and promotes the conservation of these historical buildings. The event continues to grow, inspiring future generations to value and preserve these unique parts of industrial history​.

How to Celebrate National Mills Weekend

Visit a Local Mill

Start your adventure by visiting a nearby windmill or watermill. Many open their doors to the public during National Mills Weekend.

Enjoy guided tours and see these historic structures in action. Feel the windmill’s blades turn or watch the waterwheel spin. Each mill offers a unique glimpse into the past.

Mill Photography Challenge

Grab your camera and capture the beauty of these mills. Participate in a photography challenge. Try to get the best shot of the turning sails or flowing water.

Share your photos on social media with the hashtag #NationalMillsWeekend. This way, you can inspire others to join in the fun, too.

Bake with Freshly Milled Flour

Visit a participating mill that still produces flour. Buy a bag of freshly milled flour and bake something delicious at home.

Whether it’s bread, cakes, or cookies, using mill-fresh flour adds a special touch. Plus, you can share your baked goods with friends and family, spreading the joy.

Attend a Workshop

Join a workshop or demonstration at a local mill to learn about the milling process, millwrighting, or traditional crafts.

These sessions often include hands-on activities, perfect for kids and adults alike. Discover new skills and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into maintaining these historic machines.

Picnic by the Mill

Pack a picnic and spend the day by a picturesque mill. Many mills have beautiful surroundings that are perfect for a relaxing day out.

Enjoy your meal with the soothing sound of turning gears or flowing water. It’s a lovely way to connect with nature and history at the same time.

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