Windmills have a certain charm that appeals to us all, kids and big kids alike. With their graceful sails and iconic outline, they are a much-loved part of our countryside. If you fancy getting a fix of wind-powered magic, we bring you six of the best windmill walks in England…
Windmills give a nod back to times when wind power was not seen as a modern form of renewable energy, but rather a labour-saving advancement that transformed tasks such as land drainage and the production of flour. Film and TV shows have tapped into our fascination with these architectural icons, bringing us windmill-dwelling characters like Windy Miller in the children’s show, Camberwick Green, and the Potts family in the film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Why not capture some of that magic with a windmill walk…
A circular walk of a little more than 3 miles, starting in the village of Turville in the Chilterns. Turville is one of Britain’s most popular TV and film locations and has featured regularly on both the small and large screen. The picturesque quintessentially English village will immediately transport you back in time and the views along the walk across the chalk hills are truly scrumptious including Cobstone Mill, the home to the Potts family in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
A 4.5 mile circular walk along the south coast near Brighton, taking in the beautiful undercliff path, the pretty village of Rottingdean and then climbing up to the windmill on Beacon Hill for the return leg across the Downs. You will be rewarded throughout with expansive views both out to sea as well as across the rolling hills. Rottingdean is most famous for its literary connections with the author Rudyard Kipling who lived there and was inspired by the South Downs for some of his poetry.
A 5.5 mile circular walk from the unspoilt village of Great Bedwyn in Wiltshire. The walk has a lovely mix of things to see including a few glimpses of industrial heritage. You’ll get chance to enjoy a long stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal along with the old Crofton Pumping Station and Wilton Windmill, the only remaining working windmill in Wessex. On the return stretch you’ll pass through woodlands and fields before getting chance to explore Great Bedwyn itself.
A 5 mile circular coastal walk from Marsden in Tyne and Wear. The route heads inland through the rolling farmland and meadows before returning along a stretch of the dramatic coast. There is plenty of interest along the way with old windmills, the iconic Cleadon Water Tower, the impressive coastal sea stacks and lovely views throughout, which stretch for miles around.
A 5 mile circular walk that offers both Broads walking and a stretch of the coast, where there is the special treat of an opportunity to spot some seals – if you are lucky! The walk ends with a run along an old drain, but don’t worry, it’s not the unpleasant kind, just another word for a man-made ditch. As if this wasn’t enough, the walk starts at the charming Horsey Mill, a drainage mill once driven by windpower.
A 4 mile enjoyable circular walk from Reigate Heath, passing Reigate Heath windmill, Wonham Mill and pillboxes built during the Second World War. There are good views along the walk to the North Downs.