Approaching Pitstone post mill from the surrounding Chiltern countryside, gives you magical views which change with the seasons, making it worth a visit even when the mill is closed.
A little bit of history
Pitstone Windmill is an early post mill so, unlike similar mills in East Anglia, it was turned to face the wind on top of a huge wooden post using a tail pole instead of a fantail or shuttered sails.
The date of 1627 is the oldest of several dates found inscribed in the woodwork of Pitstone Windmill, although it is generally thought that the mill was built earlier. The mill survived three centuries serving the community until a freak storm in 1902 caused extensive damage.
Inside the mill
Although the mill is no longer in use today, its machinery, including the windshaft and the brakewheel is still intact, having been lovingly restored by a team of dedicated volunteers. The machinery shows how gravity combined with two types of stone (coarse Peak Stones and coated French Burr) were used to mill wheat into both animal feed and flour.
Make a day of it
Pitstone Windmill is part of the larger Ashridge Estate, which consists of 5,000 acres of woodland, parkland and chalk downlands. At the centre off the estate are a visitor centre, shop and café. Please note the café is not run by the National Trust.
There are a number of events held at Ashridge Estate throughout the year, including guided walks. You can also set off alone to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Why not take a walk from the windmill to Ivinghoe Beacon, across chalk grassland where you will find butterflies and wild flowers in summer, or to the Bridgewater Monument at the centre of the estate?
If you'd like to join our team of volunteers and help us open the windmill more often, let us know. You can drop us an email or call 01442 851227 for more information.
Dating back to the 17th century, Pitstone Windmill has a rich and interesting past that takes us back to its life as a working mill. Explore the history of this gem in the Chiltern countryside, the oldest dated windmill in Britain.