Ashdon Windmill, Essex by Bob Paterson Bridge Watermill, Devon by Martin Watts

What?: A nationwide celebration of Britain’s mills and wildlife
When?: Saturday and Sunday 12-13 May 2018
Where?: Across the UK, at a windmill or watermill near you!

See  their website (link below) for local details

Owing to their setting, many mills are havens for wildlife – watermills by ponds, rivers and streams, windmills set apart to catch the gusts and gales to turn their sails. Using natural power they do not pollute or blight the environment.

Striking landscapes with a mill as their focus are home for much of our country’s wildlife whether otters in Devon or Swallowtail butterflies on Wicken Fen.

This year, National Mills Weekend, an annual celebration run by the Mills Section of SPAB (the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) will spotlight the importance of mills to the natural world.

Throughout the weekend, many wind and watermills will be displaying images of the flora and fauna that can be found in the vicinity – from birds, fish and mammals to butterflies and bugs, native wild flowers and grasses, trees, moss and fungi. Even mills in an urban setting will be showing how they play a positive role in the local environment.

Hundreds of mills, including some not normally open to the public, will be taking part. Some will be offering ‘colour-in’ hand outs for young visitors to help them identify wild visitors and species, along with family-friendly ‘I-spy’ checklists of wildlife that they might look out for.

Mildred Cookson, Chairman of the SPAB Mills Section, says: “The weekend is a wonderful family event - an opportunity for everyone to explore their local windmill or watermill, to learn about our rich milling heritage and its place in our landscape. This year, we focus on the way that wind and watermills offer a great opportunity to spot a variety of wildlife and explore the natural world. It’s also a chance to share our enthusiasm and passion for stoneground flour milled with green energy!”

Mill visits offer a fun day out for the whole family, whether you’re hooked on heritage, mad about machines, or a kid who loves exploring. You might even spot an otter!

The popularity of National Mills Weekend grows year on year. In 2017 over 320 mills took part, with an estimated total of 40,000 visits over the weekend.

Details of all mills open are available at www.nationalmillsweekend.co.uk