Sunday, June 13

A Sunday trip to Bursledon Windmill


Introduction

I recently discovered that we actually have a working windmill in Hampshire. Located at Bursledon, between Eastleigh and Southampton. It was originally built between 1813 and 1814, coincidently finished 1 year before the battle of Waterloo!

On Sundays the museum is open and the windmill is 'fired up' so the sails are made to turn the workings. During the week staff actually grind flour using the windmill and pack it up into bags for sale to visitors. So in this respect it is a real working windmill and museum.

The journey there

I used public transport to get to the museum, not always the best option on a Sunday! This actually turned into an unintentional adventure in its own right, since there were rail works between Fareham and Southampton.

Anyway, I first walked to Waterlooville town centre and took a bus to Cosham. Didn't plan that to well because I missed the train at Cosham by seconds and had to wait an hour for the next train. So at Cosham I went to a cafe, had a cup of tea and then watched some pensioners playing bowls at the local green.

It gets worse though. Once on the train at Cosham, I didn't know about the rail works and instead of getting off at Fareham to transfer to a replacement bus service, I ended up in Southampton. By now I was getting used to the idea of an adventure!

So I got the replacement bus service at Southampton back to Bursledon, this wasn't all bad because the bus passed through some interesting areas of Southampton which brought back some family memories.

Phew. All this just to go and see a windmill. At Bursledon it's about a 1 mile walk from Bursledon station to the windmill, on the way there, I noticed a pub, The Crows Nest (more about that later). In my opinion, the travel issues were not a problem, if you set out with the idea of an adventure, then you start working out ways to fill in the delays with other activities.

Bursledon Windmill

Having got to the windmill, seeing the sails turn in the wind made the journey worthwhile. I have seen windmills and watermills before, but I have never seen a working windmill before. I managed to take some video on a small camera whilst there, which I put together into a compilation (this is the first time I have uploaded a video to Blogger, I hope it is OK):

video

BTW, some of the noise in the outside shots of the video are actually the camera. Despite being solid state electronics (no tapes), it still managed to make an electronic whirring noise.

The staff at the windmill were very informative and I really enjoyed chatting to them. Apparently since the windmill was built, woods and buildings now surround the windmill, however they still can catch Southerly and Northerly winds, which luckily are the main winds in the area.

The sails are pointed in the correct direction by hand, using a chain that turns some gears at the top of the windmill. The sails are fixed pitch, unlike modern wind turbines that have variable pitch blades. This means the amount of sail has to be adjusted depending on the strength of the wind.

Also the windmill could drive up to 3 stones at once, so I guess originally the number of stones could be changed depending on the strength of wind. As well as the windmill, there is an old barn building which houses a small shop, and other facilities. You can watch a video that explains how the mill works and even mill some samples of flour using small stones of different historical periods.

Outside there is a small pond (with Dragonflies) and a granary stood up on some staddle stones. Staddle stones are an old method of keeping rats and mice out of the granary.

Flour

Personally I think the windmill is a great place to visit. At the museum shop you can buy three grades of strong wholemeal stoneground flour produced at the mill. I bought a 1.5 kg bag of medium flour (the others were fine and coarse) for £1.50, which I thought was a good price considering it was made by a windmill.

I hope to make some biscuits or bread with it. Never done either before, so that should be fun. What must be remembered is that when the windmill was built it was an industrial building, and was a place of work. We think of windmills as being quaint today but that was not the case when there were thousands of windmills and watermills dotted around the country in the 1700s and 1800s.

On the way back, I realised I had another hour wait for the replacement bus service back to Fareham rail station. So decided to have a beer and meal in The Crows Nest!

Link to Bursledon Windmill web pages

4 comments:

Smokey said...

Nice to hear of your trip, brave soul indeed using public transport on a Sunday

Have you ever been to the Winchester water mill?

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-winchestercitymill

I suspect that would be even more of an adventure using public transport from Waterlooville

Steve said...

We used the flour we bought from the mill in a Rhubarb crumble. I'd have blogged the successful pudding on account of it having home-grown rhubarb but we ate it before we could get the camera out :)

It's not far to go on to Victoria Park, well worth a visit.

TheVille said...

Yes I noticed a sign for Victoria Park. Also there is the Brickworks industrial museum on the other side of the bridge.

I think I'll have a go at making some biscuits. I'll probably post something on that later.

TheVille said...

Hi Smokey

I don't think it is any harder or easier to get to Winchester by train.
It does take a bit longer though.

The Watermill looks interesting.
I'll keep it in mind for future adventures.