Bursledon Windmill gets a makeover

Annabel Cook with the Bursledon Windmill opens after a major �150,000 refit. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143396-078)
Annabel Cook with the Bursledon Windmill opens after a major �150,000 refit. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143396-078)
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It has stood in Bursledon for two centuries and is one of the few remaining working windmills in the UK.

Bursledon Windmill originally processed wheat from the local area into flour for bakers, ships’ biscuits and for household use.

It also made animal feed from locally-grown barley and oats.

According to the Hampshire Mills Group, the last miller was a man called George Gosling.

He bought the mill in 1872 and set up as a threshing contractor.

But the mill fell into disrepair after the 1880s.

It was in need of major repair works and with advances in flour milling technology the windmill became surplus to requirements, so the necessary repair works were not carried out.

Built by Georgian businesswoman Phoebe Langtry, the Grade II-listed, five-storey tower mill sat unused for almost a century before being restored in the 1980s.

But its long-term future remained uncertain when the windmill had to stop working altogether after rot was discovered in the windshaft in 2012.

Now the windmill has reopened to the public following a two-year project to restore the site to its former glory.

Janet Owen is the executive officer of Hampshire Cultural Trust, the charity that operates and funds the windmill.

She says of the restoration project: ‘We’re incredibly lucky as a county to have one of the few remaining working windmills in the country right on our doorstep.

‘Bursledon Windmill is a fantastic place to visit and as an organisation that seeks to safeguard and improve Hampshire’s cultural offering, we’re delighted that these works mean visitors from all over the country 
will be able to continue to enjoy the site long into the future.’

Repair works to the 
windmill included producing and installing a new 
windshaft and replacing its sails.

It is believed to be the only working windmill in the country that still retains a wooden windshaft, following the £150,000 refit.

As well as the windmill itself, the site also boasts a visitors’ centre in the 16th century Chineham Barn, the 18th century Hiltingbury granary, a woodland walk and lawned area with a clay outdoor oven constructed by volunteers.

There is a pond containing a large variety of animal and insect life, and visitors can even try their hand at 
grinding flour by hand in the barn.

Hampshire County, Eastleigh Borough and Bursledon parish councils joined forces with Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust, which owns the windmill, to secure a £94,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to fund the replacement of the windshaft, as well update information and facilities on the site.

And £47,000 came from local councils to recruit and train more volunteers to help run it and the visitor services.

Councillor Keith Chapman, who is in charge of culture, recreation and countryside at the county council, says: ‘The windmill site is an oasis for wildlife in a busy area.

‘This has been an exciting and rewarding project which will preserve this historic building for generations to come to enjoy and learn from.’

Councillor Alan Broadhurst, Eastleigh Borough Council’s cabinet member for culture, says: ‘We and Bursledon Parish Council both play a significant role in making the windmill available for local people to enjoy and learn from. We are delighted to be able to have helped reopen the windmill.’

Bursledon Windmill is open to the public to visit from 10am to 4pm on Sundays.