On 14th Sep some Probus members and wives visited the Eling Tide Mill near Marchwood on the upper reaches of Southampton water.
It is a place of surprising interest and history dating back to Roman times. The mill has been there for at least 900 years as it was recorded in the Doomsday book. It was originally owned by Winchester College for some 700 years which gave the College income. Various individuals took over the mill but the business failed during the second world war when flour was in short supply. and big businesses undercut the price.
The buildings fell into disrepair and eventually with voluntary support the mill was refurbished and taken over by the NFDC.
The mill now has a shop, cafe and a discovery museum with various educational displays all run by volunteers.
There is one grinding position still working off the wheel using paddles which are driven by the flow of sea water as the tide goes out. Originally there were four grinding positions and I can imagine the noise would have been deafening.
The one grinding position produces enough flour for the needs of the shop and the cafe and is sold at a competitive price.
The dam across the river forms the mill pond which fills up at high tide and when required to power the mill a wheel is turned to release the water to do its job. All very efficient and green and the moving parts within the mill are powered totally by the wheel , so fascinating to watch.
Most of the members walked upstream and across the boardwalk which gave a very nice view towards the mill over reedbeds.
We found the visit a fascinating insight into a historical site and an opportunity to buy some flour made in the same way as our forebears did many centuries ago.