Elstead Mill, Surrey

As my daughter and I were going to Haslemere we decided to have lunch at Elstead Mill in Elstead. A friend, knowing of my interest in mills, had suggested a visit. We checked the route, a very simple detour, or so we thought.

Elstead Mill

Elstead Mill [23.3kb]

Turning off the A3 onto the A 286 we reached the roundabout where we were to take the road to Elstead; we came to a full stop. "Road Closed!"

Back to the A3, following a 'Diversion Sign'. We drove along seeking another sign but none appeared. We took a turning on the left saw a sign for Elstead and followed it only to find our way barred again.

This time yellow coated people were there who explained that Elstead village was closed for road resurfacing.

Back to the A3. After a short distance we found another diversion sign, tucked in the hedge; turning left at this point we followed a very long, very rolling, English road and eventually came upon the mill.

The mill sits astride the River Wye and we drove up to the mill over the original cobbled roadway. As you enter the mill you see a large mill wheel housed behind glass. The mill wheel is usually turning, but, of course, not on this day. There had been a storm the day before and the sluicegates had had to be opened to cope with the extra flow so the water was running too low to turn the wheel.

Nevertheless we had a very pleasant meal and a friendly chat with the landlady. Elstead Mill is worth a visit not just for the food.

Pevsner describes Elstead Mill as the finest of its kind in Surrey. A mill has been on this site since medieval times and the mill site originally belonged to the Bishop of Winchester. In 1208 the owner was Osbert the miller. In 1647 it burnt down - the fate of so many early mills. The mill was rebuilt and continued as a corn mill until the middle of the 19th century, when the mill was a worsted fringe factory. One of its last products, the landlady told me, was military braid. The water wheel was used to generate electricity for the mill house until 1948.

The mill then became a private house and is now a restaurant.

Further reading The Water MIlls of Surrey by Derek Stidder.


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