Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Compton Wynyates, Warwickshire
Hill and mill
Having looked at Compton Pike, I decided to follow a footpath up the nearby hill towards another local landmark. I was heading towards the windmill that I’d seen on top of the rising ground behind Compton Wynyates, the country house that seemed to be hidden from onlookers – hidden, that is, apart form a tantalizing glimpse of Tudor brickwork through the gate and through the trees.
When I got to the top of the hill and recovered my breath, the mill was a surprise. It’s a stone tower mill, but, unlike the imposing stone- or brick-built tower mills one is used to seeing, it is not a very tall structure – clearly the hill gave it most of the height it needed to catch the wind in its working days. The mill is said to date from the 18th century and to have been restored twice in the 20th, but has no proper sails, only the stocks. But apparently there is machinery inside, and with sails installed maybe it would turn again. For now, though, this picturesque little mill seems destined to remain a hilltop landmark, admired by travellers along the lanes between south Warwickshire villages such as Tysoe and Brailes, most of whom probably buy their flour from Sainsbury's in Banbury or the Co-op in Shipston on Stour.