During my summer visit to family in Lincolnshire I visited Sibsey Trader Windmill, just off the A16, 5 miles north of Boston. Unlike the traditional image of a four sailed windmill, Sibsey Trader Mill has six impressive sails, and is one of a very few six-sailed windmills still surviving in England. It has an unusually narrow tower, and although only 74 feet 3 inches to the top of the cap, standing in the flat, wide open Lincolnshire countryside, it gives the impression of being much bigger than it actually is. It was built in 1877, replacing an earlier post mill, and has six floors, and an interesting wrought iron balcony. The mill was working until the early 1950’s, but then fell into disrepair. In the 1960’s The Ministry of Works decided it was one of twelve windmills of national importance, and during the seventies it was taken into the care of the Department of the Environment, and restoration began. Now restored, and owned by English Heritage, it is fully working, with a complete gear, six huge sails and a fantail. Standing adjacent to the windmill are the Country Tea Rooms, which serve good but basic fare of sandwiches (made with their own bread), jacket potatoes, cakes and drinks.
It was a steep narrow climb up into the windmill, but we were rewarded with excellent views across the flat Lincolnshire countryside. The sails were creaking, and the floorboards were vibrating, although no actual milling was taking place, and every surface was filmed with a white dusting of flour. The Mill Shop is situated in the base floor, and it sells plenty of souvenirs, and a wide range of organic flours and other local produce.
If you’re in the area, Sibsey Trader Windmill is certainly worth a visit, but do check the opening times on their website: http://www.sibseytraderwindmill.co.uk/