National Mills Weekend: 12 -13 May 2018

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National Mills Weekend: Windmills, Watermills and Wildlife
12 - 13 MAY 2018

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!”

Details of participating mills can be found at

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.

Further information and images

Details of all mills open are available at

Images available:
1. Bridge Mill, Bridgerule, Devon - photograph © Martin Watts
2. Ashdon Post Mill, Essex – photograph © Bob Paterson

Contact for images, further details or interviews, including region-specific information:

Sophie Martin, SPAB Mills Section
020 7456 0909 (direct, Tuesdays to Thursdays) or 020 7377 1644 /  
Alison McClary SPAB press office: 0207 456 0908/ Kate Griffin SPAB press office 0207 456 0905

Notes to editors

1. National Mills Weekend runs every year during the second weekend of May. It has been organised by the SPAB Mills Section since 1984, and is part of a Europe-wide festival of milling heritage during the month of May.

2. The SPAB Mills Section launched the event in 1984. The SPAB (the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) is Britain’s oldest heritage charity.

3. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) was founded by William Morris in 1877 to care for and preserve the UK’s architectural heritage. The Mills Section of the SPAB was founded in 1931 to protect and promote windmills and watermills.


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