Alderford Water Mill
Restored, Grade II-listed timber building, typical of rural water mills and one of the best preserved in Essex. The water wheel often runs on open days.
At a glance
This Grade II-listed timber building is typical of rural water mills and one of the best preserved in Essex.
It stands where Alderford Road crosses the River Colne on the east side of Sible Hedingham.
It has a breast-shot waterwheel, and three steam-driven and two water-driven millstones, one restored to working order. The water wheel inside runs on open days when water levels allow.
The earliest known reference to a mill on this site dates from 1597. The current mill building is 19th century, with an earlier undershot waterwheel – probably 17th century.
The site mainly milled corn until WWII when it began producing animal feed.
The original 18th-century mill had two sets of stones. In around 1850 the mill was altered to incorporate a steam mill, increasing production and offsetting against times when water levels were too low to drive the waterwheel. The mill then boasted three sets of steam-driven stones and two sets of water-driven stones.
Later, the steam engine was replaced with an oil engine and in the 1940s, the mill was electrified. Belt-driven free-standing crushers replaced the engine-driven millstones. These and the water-driven stones continued grinding corn and pulses for animal feed until the mill stopped producing in 1956.
Essex County Council bought the building in 1994 and restored it alongside the Friends of Alderford Mill. The site has been welcoming visitors on open days since 2008.
See Alderford Mill in operation.
Our open day
This will be Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May 2022 as part of National Mills Weekend
Walks in the area
- Alderford Mill lies at one end of the Hedingham Riverside Walk, a natural wilderness area maintained by local volunteers. You can enter this walk beside the mill and enjoy a pleasant stroll along a path suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
- You can also begin the Hedingham Mills Walk from Alderford Mill, a well-maintained and well-marked one-hour circular walk taking you past Hull's Mill and back through a bluebell wood.
Arrange a group visit to Alderford Mill by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
By joining Friends Of Alderford Mill you can learn more about the mill’s history and how it works, become a guide, help further restore the mill and meet new people. Contact the Friends to get involved.
National Mills Weekend
National Mills Weekend Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May 2022.
Free admission, but donations to the Friends Group are much appreciated.
There are no toilets at the mill.
Ready access to ground floor only.
Where to find us
Search our parks and places to plan your perfect day out
Venues you may be interested in...
Beeleigh Steam Mill
One of the most attractive and fascinating mills in East Anglia, Beeleigh Mill includes a rare beam engine and elephant boiler. Open by appointment.
- Abbey Turning, Maldon, CM9 6LJ
Finchingfield Post Mill
Grade II-listed Finchingfield Post Mill is the oldest windmill in Essex, built around 1756. It overlooks the picturesque village of Finchingfield.
- Duck End, Finchingfield, Braintree, CM7 4NA
Belhus Woods Country Park
Over 300 acres in South Essex, Belhus Woods Country Park combines ancient woodland, kid's play area, meadows and lakes with a visitor centre and café.
- South Ockendon, Aveley, RM15 4XJ