Crowds flock to Wilton Windmill open day

This Is Wiltshire: Ben and Ellie enjoy the sights and sounds of the Wilton Windmill open day Ben and Ellie enjoy the sights and sounds of the Wilton Windmill open day

Warm weather helped lure a huge crowd to the annual Heritage Day at Wiltshire’s only working windmill at Wilton on Sunday with an estimated attendance of more than 2,000.

Hundreds of visitors from a wide area queued to go on tours of the windmill, which does not work on open days for health and safety reasons, and buy flour that had been milled there.

“In fact we ran out of flour,” said the secretary of the windmill preservation society Susie Brew, adding that because of the poor harvest the society was having difficulty in obtaining new supplies of milling wheat.

The open day was part of the national Heritage Open Days Weekend.

There was free entry to the windmill and free guided tours that were so popular people had to queue to take their turn.

Visitors were able to buy pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven, made by windmill society treasurer Andy Pack and Martin Rhodes, both from Great Bedwyn.

Vintage and classic tractors and farm machines were displayed by members of Wiltshire Agricultural Preservation Group, there were displays of rural crafts, and music was provided by Phoenix Brass.

Car parking was organised efficiently by Burbage Explorer Scouts.

For the younger visitors, there were Punch and Judy shows and a bouncy castle.

Mrs Brew said a large number of the visitors on Sunday were visiting the 200-year-old mill for the first time.

She said: “We had lots of families with children running around enjoying themselves and the guided tours of the mill were so popular we had people queuing.”

Events to mark the Heritage Open Days were also held in Corsham, where historian Dr Negley Harte led guided walks through the historic town on Friday and Saturday.

He said: “It is very good to see such a large crowd coming out and wanting to find out more about Corsham.

“There are a lot of myths about Corsham’s history and it is good to be able to pass on a little insight to the group.”

Other events in the town included a talk by author Nick McCamley, whose book Secret Underground Cities, details the mysterious history of the tunnels and ammunition depots under Corsham and Monkton Farleigh.

On Sunday, visitors to the town had the opportunity to explore Hartham Estate Chapel, designed by P.C. Harwick in 1862, and in nearby Box the medieval Church of St Christopher also opened its doors to the public on Saturday and Sunday.

Michael Rumsey, Corsham Civic Society chairman, said: “I think we have done very well with this year’s events as it is always hard to offer something different year after year.”

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