The Mill Site
The five-Sailed Windmill was built in 1837 by the local
Alford millwright, Sam Oxley, whose business is still trading today under the
name of R. Thompson and Sons; the only traditional millwrights in the
At one time there were four, five and six-sailed windmills
in Alford, but today only the five-sailed mill remains. This mill is often
considered to be the finest windmill in England and the novel use of five sails was based on efficiency
experiments by the celebrated engineer John Smeaton. He is also credited with
advocating the use of the rounded onion-shaped (Ogee) cap to reduce wind
The site consists of a working windmill and a shop in the old engine house which sells a wide range of locally milled, stoneground flour as well as a range of jams, cereals and gifts.
In addition, the Old Sail Shed houses our tea room 'Millstones' which serves hot and cold meals and soups plus delicious cakes, scones and desserts. Try our Coffee Cake and Victoria
Sponge - now made with 100-percent stone ground white flour. We only use butter and top
quality ingredients to produce a result that just can't be shop bought.
The mill has been wind powered for most of its working life.
However, the addition of a town gas-driven engine in the adjacent shed, permitted
flour production when there was no wind. The mill is now owned by the county
Well-behaved dogs are welcome on-site (but obviously not in the mill or
tea room to comply with hygiene regulations) and there is disabled
access to the
tea room and toilets.
We actively encourage insects, birds and bats to visit us and
the grounds are currently being enhanced by the introduction of wild
meadow planting, but work has been hampered by the relentlessly bad
I hope you will bear with us while these changes take place...
The Tea Room
Set adjacent to the mill in the old Sail Shed, our award
winning tea room 'Millstones' serves hot meals, savoury snacks and more than a
dozen locally made cakes and treats.
Perennial favourites include gingerbread made
from a traditional family recipe and our cream tea; a wholewheat scone, made
with locally milled flour, served with strawberry jam and double cream.
As well as filled wholemeal cobs made with our own flour, we
also serve a selection of hot food and have gained a reputation for producing delicious freshly made soups. We endeavour to use high quality
ingredients which we try to source locally wherever possible.
There is indoor seating for approximately 40 with an
additional 20 seats on our covered deck and 30+ in the tea garden. Coach
parties are welcome by prior appointment and we regularly entertain groups of
ramblers and cyclists who stop off on their journey and add a wonderful buzz to
the atmosphere in the tea room.
We pride ourselves on our standards of hygiene and the
friendliness of our staff and constantly strive to improve the experience for