Open Day - Chailey Windmill

Chailey Windmill, said to mark the spot of the dead centre of Sussex, is open to the public for a couple of hours every last Sunday of the month between April and September. It’s a smock mill – so named because the horizontally weather-boarded sides resemble the sort of linen smock countrymen used to wear. Like most such mills it is octagonal in shape. The mill was built in 1834, and moved to Chailey (having first spent some time in West Hoathly) thirty years later, the fifth mill to be placed on the site (the first being in 1595). Look carefully and you can work out how the mill worked – its boat-shaped ‘cap’ rotated so the sails faced into the wind.

The windmill, which no longer has any machinery inside, last ground grain back in 1911. It has been restored twice since then, in 1933 (after damage caused by the ‘great gale’ of 1928) and in 1954. It’s a great place to visit, not least for its position – it offers fine views of Chailey Commons, Ashdown Forest and the Downs. The mill has spent all its life standing next to a beautiful ancient yew believed to be more than 400 years old. During research for this page, incidentally, we discovered that Sussex’s most famous mill used to be ‘Six Sweeps’ on Kingston Hill, which was blown down in the Great March Blizzard of 1916. So now you know. AG

Chailey windmill courtesy of Clive McBain
When? 3pm - 5pm
How Much? £1 (under 12’s free)

Lewes Theatre
(t) 01273 474826