Watermills and windpumps in the East of England

Mills and windpumps are iconic features in the landscape of East Anglia, from the Norfolk Broads to the Cambridgeshire fens. Often among the most photographed buildings, it's not until you step inside that their true history is revealed.

Close up of the exterior of Bourne Mill

Bourne Mill, Essex 

Originally the site of a fishing pond for monks, Bourne Mill was built as a fishing lodge and banqueting house, before being converted to first a fulling mill and then a corn mill. Situated next to a babbling stream in Colchester, the mill still has a working waterwheel.

A view of Lode Mill from the banks of Quy Water

Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire 

In the picturesque grounds of Anglesey Abbey, Lord Fairhaven acquired Lode Mill in 1934 from the Bottisham Lode Cement and Brick Company. He restored it to its original corn milling condition and today it's in full working order, you can even take home the wholemeal flour we grind here.

Houghton Mill in Summer

Houghton Mill, Cambridgeshire 

Situated on the Great Ouse River, follow the amazing survival story of Houghton Mill. Almost demolished before local villagers came to its rescue, at five stories high, it leaves quite the impression on the landscape. Now restored to full working order, the tradition of milling has continued here for over 1,000 years.

Horsey Windpump with cows in the foreground

Horsey Windpump, Norfolk 

Re-opening in March 2019 after a major restoration project, this iconic building in the Norfolk Broads is a drainage windpump with a dramatic history. Built by millwright Dan England in 1912, it has survived floods, a lightning strike, a collapse, storms and gale force winds.

Wicken Fen - Windpump in Autumn

Wicken Fen's Windpump, Cambridgeshire 

Wicken Fen's iconic windpump stands on the edge of Sedge Fen, a reminder of the former peat digging industry which was once widespread in the Cambridgeshire Fens. Before steam and diesel pumping engines, windpumps were used to drain the surrounding turf pits and fields.

How about sleeping in a windmill?
Burnham Overy Staithe black and white tower windmill

Tower Windmill, Norfolk 

Have you ever fancied staying in a windmill? Well now you can. Tower Windmill at Burnham Overy was last used as a corn mill in 1914 and is now one of the National Trust's bunkhouses. With spectacular views of the Norfolk Coast and surrounding countryside, it can sleep up to 19 people. So gather friends and family for a holiday with a view!

Why not buy a bag of flour to take home?

Thank you

We couldn't do it without you

Thanks to you, together we can look after the nation's special places, for ever, for everyone.