One of the things I love about National Trust membership is being able to visit so many different places around the country. During our holiday on the Isle of Wight, we decided to visit Bembridge Windmill. The girls had never visited a windmill before. This one is the only surviving windmill on the Isle of Wight. It was built in the early 1700s and was in use until 1913.
We parked in the nearby lay-by and took the short walk up to the windmill. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a few family photos outside.
Jessica had been struggling with energy levels during our holiday. I knew that she wouldn’t be able to manage to climb up the steps to explore the mill from top to bottom. She was quite happy though to stay on the ground floor level with Daddy while Sophie went up with me. We had to leave Jessica’s buggy outside though as there wasn’t enough room to get it past the ladder and into the windmill.
We had been given a sheet on our arrival to help us look for the little millers that were hidden around the various levels of the mill. They weren’t always very easy to spot. I missed one which hubby managed to spot when we swapped over later.
We started at the top floor – the bin floor. This was where the grain was emptied into two bins which fed to the millstones on the floor below. Only one of the bins is there now to make space for visitors to move around the floor.
The next floor down is the stone floor where the grain was ground between the millstones. These are housed in a wooden tun. The ground grain then travelled down a wooden chute to a machine on the next floor down – the machine floor. The machine separated the brans from the waste product. The brans were then passed through three canvas chutes (one for each grade of bran) which sent them down to the ground floor ready for weighing and bagging.
Sophie coped well with going up and down the ladders. It was a relief to get down to the ground floor though! While hubby headed up to explore the windmill, Jessica and Sophie were quite happy sitting and watching the short film about the windmill and looking at the two embroidered smocks on display. I think Sophie would have quite liked to try one on if dressing up had been an option!
It didn’t take us very long to explore the windmill. We only spent about an hour there which was plenty of time to visit the windmill itself. If you have longer, then there are also family nature trails in the school holidays and various footpaths nearby to explore.