The annual festival is a fantastic opportunity for members of the public to visit these outstanding buildings, some of which are not usually open to the public and take a look behind the scenes.
Until the advent of the steam engine, wind and watermills provided the only source of power for many different processes - from making flour, paper, cloth to hammering metal and extracting oils.
This weekend visitors can explore mills that produced, or still produce these products, some restored to working order, some derelict, some still working commercially.
As a county Lincolnshire has more working windmills than any other in the UK and the highest mill tower is right here in South Holland at Moulton. It along with nine other windmills, and a watermill, are open to the public this weekend.
n Moulton Windmill, High Street, Moulton, PE12 6QB – a fine ten-storey tower mill, built in 1822, standing 100 feet high to the top of the cap. It was restored with a lottery grant during 2004-5 and has granary tea-rooms on the first floor. Open 10am to 4pm both days.
n Sneaths Mill, Lutton Gowts, PE12 9LQ – a brick built tower mill built in 1779 now being preserved by Sneaths Mill Trust. It contains much early wooden machinery, which at present can only be viewed from the entrance doorways. The mill is only open to the public during National Mills Weekend, from 10am to 4pm.
n Heckington Windmill, off the A17 Newark to King’s Lynn road, NG34 9JW - the only remaining eight-sailed tower mill in western Europe, last worked commercially in 1946. It was restored to working order in 1986, and is now worked by the Heckington Windmill Trust. There is a shop selling flour and souvenirs, a tearoom and on-site micro-brewery. Open noon to 5pm both days.
n Maud Foster Windmill, Willoughby Road, Boston, PE21 9EG – a seven-storey, five-sailed tower mill, built in 1819 and restored to full working order in 1988. It produces a range of organic wholemeal and white flours commercially. There is a mill shop selling flour and souvenirs. Open 10am to 5pm on Saturday only.
n Alford Windmill, A1104 Mablethorpe road, LN13 9EH – a six-storey, five-sailed tower mill built by an Alford millwright in about 1837. It is still in commercial use, producing organic flours. There is a whole food shop on site and tea room in the old sail shed. Open 10am – 5pm on Saturday, and 11am - 5pm Sunday.
n Dobson’s Windmill, High Street, Burgh le Marsh, PE24 5JR - A five-sailed tower mill built in 1813, which, unusually, turns clockwise. It contains much of the original machinery and a Blackstone engine. Light refreshments available in its granary tea room. Open 2pm - 4.30pm both days.
n Mount Pleasant Windmill, on the B1398 north of Kirton-in-Lindsey, DN21 4NH - a brick tower mill with four double-shuttered patent sails. The mill was built in 1875, and worked until 1936 by wind and then diesel engine until 1973. It was fully restored in 1991 and works commercially to produce organic stoneground flour. There is a shop selling wholefoods, teashop and organic bakery. Open 10am - 5pm both days.
n Ellis’s Windmill, Mill, Road, Lincoln, LN1 3JJ - A three-storey tower mill built in 1798, restored by Lincoln Civic Trust in 1977 to full working order. The mill is owned by Lincolnshire County Council and run by a volunteer group. Open 2pm to 5pm both days.
n Trader Windmill, off A16 at Sibsey, PE22 OSY - a six-sailed mill built in 1877. Owned by English Heritage, the mill is still working, producing a wide range of flours. It has an award-winning country tea-room and flour is for sale. Open 10am to 6pm both days.
n Waltham Windmill, B1203, Waltham, DN37 0JZ - a large six-sailed tower mill, built in 1879 by Saundersons of Louth. The mill is fully operational and has a restaurant on site, plus a railway carriage tearoom for light refreshments, and various craft units. There’s also a rural life museum. Open both days 10am - 4pm.
n Cogglesford Watermill, off A153, Sleaford, NG34 7EQ – a three-storey watermill, built about 1750 and restored to full working order. This corn mill has an internal waterwheel and two pairs of millstones, which can be seen milling on special event days. Open 11am to 4.30pm both days.
n For more information about these and more mills open visit www.nationalm illsweekend.co.uk